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American Airlines

American Pilot Arrested for Choking Ground Agent

American Pilot Arrested for Choking Ground Agent

Just before taking off from Brazil to Miami, an American Airlines pilot was arrested after an altercation resulting from a dispute became physical, according to a report by the Daily Mail. Neither the pilot nor the agent has been named.

The 59-year old pilot is said to have worked at American Airlines for 32 years and got into a dispute with an operations agent on the ground regarding the alignment of the finger—that tunnel that connects passengers in the airport with the plane. He grabbed the female agent by the neck during the altercation.

The pilot was arrested just moments before taking off and has his American passport revoked by the police who charged him with Brazil’s penal code, article 129 with “offending the bodily integrity or health of another.”

As a result, the pilot now faces between three months and one year if he is found guilty. Needless to say, passengers were not pleased by the delay the incident caused and American Airlines staff scrambled to place passengers on other flights and provide meal vouchers and hotel stays to make up for the incident.

The issue began when a copilot on the flight went to adjust the tunnel entrance and the pilot said it was incorrectly aligned. The gate agent said that it was correct and apparently inadvertently stepped on the pilot’s foot during the altercation, setting off a chain of events, as reported by eyewitnesses. The pilot then grabbed the agent by the neck before a maintenance worker intervened to put an end to the violence.

American Airlines has since issued a formal apology to customers saying that they are cooperating with the investigation and doing their best to accommodate passengers.


The pilot is due to appear at a special court.

View Comments (6)


  1. pdsales

    March 16, 2018 at 8:41 am

    Wow, as a long time FT reader I have read stories about infuriating GA (like this one but escalating to this level is almost beyond belief.

  2. strickerj

    March 16, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    I’ve never heard of the jetway being called “finger” before. I must say, I first thought “alignment of the finger” referred to one of them making a rude gesture. :)

  3. mikesyr18

    March 16, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    Of course the woman walks away without any disciplinary action even though she started the problem by stepping on his foot.

  4. am1108

    March 18, 2018 at 7:58 pm

    Dont give United any more ideas!

  5. flatdawgs

    March 19, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    A foreign nation cannot “revoke” an US citizen’s passport. It can certainly “seize” or “confiscate” a passport when, as in this case, the bearer is suspected of a crime – but only the US Department of State has the authority to “revoke” a US citizen’s passport. I would imagine this is similar for other nations as well.

  6. J S

    March 19, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    @mikesyr18 Are you kidding?

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