This is the moment a wild brawl broke out between two passengers trying to exit a plane at Miami International Airport, on Sunday night – just the latest in more than 3,000 violent incidents reported on air travel since January.
Kiera Pierre Louis, who goes by her hip-hop name Milli Miami, recorded the whole incident, which broke out when a Frontier Airlines flight from Philadelphia landed in Miami Sunday at around 9:30 p.m.
She told Local 10 News the white man grew angry at the black passenger because he thought he was taking to long to get his luggage from the overhead bin and was blocking his way out.
The white man then threw the first punch, she said, and called the black passenger the ‘N’ word.
‘I couldn’t believe what was going on,’ she said. ‘You can see the white man on top of the black passenger and just beating him between the seats,’ she said.
‘The flight attendant got involved, the white man’s wife got involved, his son, I believe his son’s girlfriend, um, everyone was just involved.’
She also noted that the white man who reportedly started the fight was allowed to leave the plane, while the black man was told to stay behind.
‘Racism, of course,’ Pierre Louis claimed. ‘The black passenger had to wait on the plane, when he didn’t even start it, and the police while we were walking off the plane, walked right past the person, the white man, who actually initiated everything.’
Video posted to Instagram shows the moment a white passenger pushed a black passenger into the seat of a Frontier Airlines plane as passengers tried to deplane on Sunday night
A black woman and a white woman, presumably the men’s wives, got involved, with the black woman trying to grab the white man while the white woman pulled her hair
Eventually, a group of other passengers and a flight attendant were able to pull the white man off of the black man and force him down the aisle
Miami-Dade police, however, said the black passenger was ‘not held back,’ but instead chose to stay on the plane so he could file a police report.
Ultimately, they said, he decided not to press charges, and the white man who reportedly started the brawl was allowed to leave.
The nearly three-minute long video shows two men arguing, when a white man suddenly grabs a black man and pushes him down into the seat. A black woman then seems to get involved and starts attacking a white woman, who grabs her by the hair as a flight attendant asks what happened.
The white man, meanwhile, continues to punch the black man, leading the black woman to grab the white man by the head, as people try to pull him off the black man.
Eventually, several other passengers and a flight attendant were able to get the white man off the black man, and push him forward to deplane.
The black man could be seen trying to follow him, but the black woman seemed to hold him back, as others on the plane shouted at him to ‘get out.’
The incident reportedly occurred on a Frontier Airlines flight that landed in Miami from Philadelphia at around 9.30pm Sunday night
FAA fines for unruly passengers reaches $682,000
With nine cases of unruly passengers reported earlier this month, totaling $119,000 in fines, the agency has collected a total of $682,000 since the beginning of the year.
- $21,500 to a passenger on a December 2020 Frontier Airlines flight from Nashville to Orlando
- $18,500 to a passenger on a February 19 Republic Airlines flight from Indianapolis to Philadelphia
- $17,000 to a passenger on a January 25 Frontier Airlines flight from St. Louis, Missouri to Las Vegas
- $13,000 to a passenger on a January 29 Frontier Airlines flight from San Diego to Las Vegas
- $10,500 to a passenger on a February 27 Allegiant Air flight from Provo, Utah to Mesa, Arizona
- $10,500 to a passenger on a January 23 Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to Ketchikan
- $10,500 to a passenger on a December 19 Allegiant Air flight from Syracuse, New York to Punta Gorda, Florida
- $10,000 to a passenger on a February 19 Republic Airlines flight from Indianapolis to Philadelphia
- $7,500 to a passenger on a February 25 Southwest Airlines flight from Denver to Los Angeles
Frontier Airlines referred any questions about the incident to the Miami-Dade Police Department, but confirmed in a statement to Local 10 News that a fight broke out on its flight from Philadelphia to Miami.
‘All passengers involved were asked to remain on the aircraft, however some disregarded the flight crew’s instructions,’ the statement read. ‘Ultimately, local law enforcement became involved.’
Sunday’s fight is just the latest in a string of violent incidents that have been documented at terminals and inside airplanes since air travel started to resume in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced in June that airlines have reported more than 3,000 incidents involving unruly passengers since January 1, with about 76 percent of the nearly 3,300 reports involving passengers who refused to wear masks on board their flights.
It has collected $682,000 in these penalties since the new regulations went into effect.
While the FAA agency did not track such reports in prior years, a spokesman said it was safe to assume this year’s numbers are the highest ever.
Since announcing a ‘zero-tolerance policy’ against unruly passengers in January, the FAA has publicized potential fines – some topping $30,000 – against more than 80 passengers That is about three times the full-year average number of cases over the past decade, according to FAA figures.
In one instance last month, a 29-year-old woman was arrested and charged with aggravated assault while she was trying to check-in for another Frontier Airlines flight with her two children at Orlando International Airport and hit an employee with a keyboard.
And in May, a young woman on a Southwest plane in San Diego, California punched a flight attendant in the face. She was charged with felony battery.
As a result of these violent incidents, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said they will resume self-defense training for airline flight attendants and pilots, which were halted last year due to the pandemic.
The FAA has reported an uptick in violent incidents at airports and on board planes as more people begin to travel as the COVID pandemic wanes. Here, people were seen waiting in line for TSA screening at the Orlando International Airport, where a Frontier Airlines staff member was assaulted by an unruly passenger last month
Certain airlines have also decided to ban the sale of alcohol on their flights in the wake of these violent incidences.
In May, American Airlines officials announced they would not resume serving alcohol to passengers in the main cabins until at least September, saying that they had seen ‘some of these stressors create deeply disturbing situations on board aircrafts.’
Vice president of flight service Brady Byrnes added: ‘Let me be clear: American Airlines will not tolerate assault or mistreatment of our crews.’
‘While we appreciate that customers and crewmembers are eager to return to ‘normal,’ we will move cautiously and deliberately when restoring pre-COVID practices.’
American Airlines halted the sale of alcohol in economy in late March 2020 to limit interactions between passengers and flight attendants during the pandemic. The airline now says the ban will remain in place through September 13, the same date the Transportation Security Administration plans to lift the mask mandate on all flights.
Southwest Airlines has also decided to halt its plans to return to selling alcohol to customers as the COVID pandemic wanes.
‘Given the recent uptick in industry-wide incidents of passenger disruptions inflight, we have made the decision to pause the previously announced re-start of alcohol service,’ said Southwest spokesman Chris Mainz.
Mainz said the decision might disappoint some customers, ‘but we feel this is the right decision at this time in the interest of the safety and comfort of all customers and crew onboard.’
The airline has not determined new dates for selling alcohol.