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Caught on Video: Fist Fight Breaks Out After American Flight Lands in Austin

Another fight during the deboarding process was caught on video, with little information about what caused the fists to fly. The video shows one man shaking a finger in another’s face, resulting in an altercation involving three flyers.

Another flight in the United States ends with passengers throwing fists at one another – and is at least the fifth documented case of “flight rage” in 2021. Austin NBC affiliate KXAN-TV reports a fight broke out while three men attempted to deboard an American Airlines flight arriving at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS).

Police Give Little Information, While Video Only Shows Moments Before Fight

The 44-second video shared online starts with two men confronting one another, with a third between them. The first man in a black hat shakes his finger in the second flyer’s face, leading to that passenger throwing blows. A passenger in the middle is caught between and ultimately ends up involved. Other flyers ultimately break up the altercation.

Both the airline and police are not providing insight into what started the fight, or if any of the passengers were arrested. In a statement to the TV station, American acknowledged that “law enforcement were requested…due to an altercation between passengers,” but provided no further details. A search for an incident report from the Austin Police Department aviation division yielded no results for Sunday, Aug. 1.

The video is the latest in a troubling trend of passengers engaging each other on flights. In March 2021, a pair of American flyers deplaning after arrival in Phoenix were caught on video fighting (the video has since been deleted from Twitter). This was followed by a rash of fights in Miami, ranging from a group attacking other flyers when they could not be accommodated on the same flight, to two flyers going to fists after one used a racial slur.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, it is a federal offense to “assault, threaten, intimidate, or interfere with a crewmember in the performance of the crewmember’s duties aboard an aircraft being operated” – a definition which could which fist fighting with other passengers. The current “zero tolerance” policy allows for the agency to fine unruly passengers up to $37,000 per violation.

Flight Attendants Say Problems on Flights Becoming Disturbingly Common

Even though passengers face fines and travel bans for unruly behavior, flight attendants say the problems are getting worse on domestic flights. A recent survey conducted by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA shows the vast majority of crews were forced to deal with an unruly passenger this year, with half saying it’s happened to them five or more times.

Moyerclan August 7, 2021

Less crowded seating and fewer flying tensions would help, I bet.

greg99 August 6, 2021

I think you might have been looking for the word "disembark" not "deboard" (which isn't a word).

dliesse August 5, 2021

The problem is that this extends beyond the airplane. We as a society are far too tolerant of violence (in my mind there is never any excuse for someone throwing the first punch, at least). I won't suggest the US needs to go as far as Singapore, but perhaps we do need some "anti-social behavior" laws like they have in the UK, and then enforce them (the other key part of the solution).

FlyingHighlander August 5, 2021

Alcohol is the issue, yet so many people can't go a day without it

KLBGO August 5, 2021

Remove face diapers and serve food, and people will relax.