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Southwest Airlines

Brawl Forces Southwest Airlines Flight Back to AUS

Brawl Forces Southwest Airlines Flight Back to AUS
Jackie Reddy

Court documents indicate that traveler Aaron Sweeney put another passenger into a headlock and threatened to kill one of his arresting officers.

A fistfight erupted last week on a Southwest Airlines flight from Austin, Texas, prompting the Chicago-bound plane to return to Austin—Bergstrom International Airport (AUS). The incident occurred on Tuesday afternoon onboard Southwest Airlines Flight 3590 and involved two passengers, one of whom was arrested, the Austin-American Statesman reports.

According to court documents, the plane was approximately 20 minutes into its journey when a physical altercation occurred between 28-year-old Aaron Sweeney and another unnamed passenger. At this point, traveler Lisa Birkman told news station KVUE, one of the two men was told to move seats. “Then the pilot came on the intercom and said that we were turning around,” she explained.

Local police boarded the flight upon landing, arrested Sweeney and also spoke to a flight attendant who had witnessed the brawl between the two men. According to the arrest affidavit issued for Sweeney, he was seen to have put the unnamed passenger into a headlock and to have punched him multiple times. Sweeney was also found to have been drunk at the time of the incident.

As Sweeney was being escorted off the plane, he physically rushed another member of cabin crew and became aggressive once more towards his victim. Despite having to be restrained, Sweeney remained physically and verbally abusive towards officers.

The affidavit indicates that, as he was being transferred from the airport into the police patrol car, Sweeney attempted to overturn the wheelchair into which he was strapped by pushing his feet onto the ground. Upon arriving at a local jail, it is reported that Sweeney threatened to kill one of his arresting officers.

Authorities from the Austin Police Department confirmed that Sweeney has been charged with public intoxication, resisting arrest and assault on a public servant. Southwest confirmed the incident in a statement, saying that “an altercation on board between two passengers” had caused the plane to return to AUS.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

View Comments (5)


  1. bsdstone

    July 17, 2017 at 5:08 am

    anyone else immediately think…”You done messed up now…A-A-RON!”

  2. Boggie Dog

    July 17, 2017 at 5:18 am

    People who cause disruptions like this should be barred from flying. Let them find other means of travel.

  3. jdsuth56

    July 17, 2017 at 5:18 am

    Maybe it’s time we started to put these people on a no fly list until they grow up

  4. patch8

    July 17, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    putting these people on a ‘no fly’ list is a great idea. and not just on the carrier the incident occurred on, but ALL airlines… addition, gate agents need to start deny boarding to anyone who appears intoxicated…it is a FAA regulation,actually… I think they are too afraid of a lawsuit …. btw, has anyone ever noticed the amount of liquor available to passengers near the gates? it is stunning.. drinking is fine, but is it really necessary before stepping on an airplane? just saying……

  5. The_Bouncer

    July 18, 2017 at 1:28 am

    Ban him for life. People like that obviously can’t be trusted on planes.

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