A concerned passenger captured cellphone footage of police roughly treating a disturbed man who had earlier locked himself in the lavatory of a San Francisco to Hawaii-bound Alaska Airlines flight. The whistleblower and mother of two says the crew and law enforcement failed to control the situation, which predictably and needlessly turned violent.
In most cases, when a troublemaking passenger is removed from a flight, air travelers tend to express gratitude or at least relief that the crew managed to head off a potential crisis. Lindsey Babb says, however, that far from inspiring confidence, Alaska Airlines’ mishandling of a situation in which a disturbed man locked himself in the lavatory, left her wishing she could disembark along with police and the disruptive flyer.
The concerned mom traveling with her two young daughters from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Honolulu Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) took cellphone footage of portions of the often violent exchange with police and crew members on September 27th. She says there was no reason for the brutal scene to have played out in front of passengers in the first place.
“We should not have been on that plane,” Babb told the SF Gate. “We should have been de-boarded the minute Alaska Airlines felt they lost control of the situation. He was locked in the bathroom, so they could have easily cleared the plane before [police] came on board.”
She says that after police broke down the lavatory door to remove the passenger from the aircraft, the confused flyer attempted to sit in his assigned seat. This is when the heartbreaking (and she says unnecessary) struggle ensued.
“They [police] still didn’t have control of the situation because he was walking independently, they didn’t have restraints on him,” Babb explained to the the Gate’s Eric Ting. “His shirt was off, he was soaking wet, and one of his officers was holding his shirt, which was also soaking wet.”
Video of the incident shows the obviously disoriented flyer attempting to take his seat and begging police, “Please don’t arrest me!” Babb says the resulting struggle left police officers’ hands “covered in blood.”
Babb told reporters that the airline responded to her concerns about the way the situation was handled by offering reimbursement vouchers for the flight. She says, however, no one from Alaska Airlines has followed up since.
“The safety of our guests and crew is our top priority,” the airline said in a curt statement to FOX News. “A guest entered the bathroom and would not come out … The flight crew contacted law enforcement to remove the passenger. The flight departed about two hours late. We sincerely apologize to our guests for the inconvenience.”