Frontier Airlines passenger taped to seat after allegedly groping, attacking flight attendants

Key Points
  • A passenger was taped to his seat after he allegedly groped two flight attendants and punched another, according to a police report.
  • The incident is the latest in a string of alleged physical violence on board aircraft this year.
  • The FAA has received more than 3,700 complaints about unruly travelers this year.

In this article

A Frontier airlines plane lands at the Miami International Airport on June 16, 2021 in Miami, Florida.
Joe Raedle | Getty Images

A Frontier Airlines passenger was taped to his seat after he allegedly groped two flight attendants and punched another in the face on a Miami-bound flight from Philadelphia last week, according to a police report.

The passenger, 22-year-old Maxwell Berry of Norwalk, Ohio, had finished two drinks and was ordering another when he allegedly brushed his empty cup against a flight attendant's "back side inappropriately," said the Miami-Dade Police Department report about the July 31 flight. Berry later allegedly groped the breasts of two flight attendants, who asked a third cabin crew member for help, the report said. Berry then allegedly punched that flight attendant in the face "with a closed fist."

Berry could not immediately be reached for comment.

"A fight ensued," said the report. The third flight attendant and "nearby passengers" restrained Berry "and had to tape him down to the seat and tie him with a seatbelt extender" for the rest of the flight, the police report said. Berry was arrested at Miami International Airport.

The incident marks the latest report of unruly and physically violent behavior of passengers on planes in recent months. The Federal Aviation Administration said it has received 3,715 reports of unruly behavior by passengers since the start of the year, close to 75% of them related to passengers who refuse comply with the federal mask mandate.

The FAA is receiving about 100 reports a week, a rate that has been steady over the past several weeks, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Incidents of violence and the uptick in unruly passenger reports have alarmed flight attendant labor unions, who have asked airlines and federal prosecutors to do more to stop the behavior.

A survey by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA published last week said that 84% of cabin crew members have dealt with unruly travelers this year and that 17% have experienced a physical incident.

"The situation on Frontier this weekend is one of the worst examples," said AFA International President Sara Nelson in a written statement. "When he refused to comply after multiple attempts to de-escalate, the crew was forced to restrain the passenger with the tools available to them onboard. We are supporting the crew."

Frontier said the crew members who worked the Saturday flight are on paid leave pending an investigation

"Frontier Airlines maintains the utmost value, respect, concern and support for all of our flight attendants, including those who were assaulted on this flight," the carrier said in a statement.