The past few months have been rife with airplane drama, from a doctor dragged off a United flight to tales of overbooking and fights breaking out in airports, air travel has never seemed so unappealing. But when a violently drunk man boarded his Las Vegas flight, bound for Chicago, most agree that authorities and Southwest Airlines properly handled the situation.
The flight was scheduled to leave Vegas at 7:30 p.m. on Monday when the drunken passenger reportedly locked himself in the bathroom and refused to leave. Finally, crew members managed to remove him from the plane, but only minutes later, he charged back on board, where he was tackled by a member of the staff. Authorities soon arrived and carried the man off the plane. In a cell phone video of the incident, one of the police officers can be heard asking another if he “[wants] to get a wheelchair.”
CBS Chicago spoke to a number of other passengers on the flight who praised the actions of the flight attendants. One passenger said, “He was violently getting back on the plane, like pushing people, so one of the guards tackled him in front of my feet.” Southwest issued the following statement:
A Southwest Passenger who appeared to be intoxicated was asked to deplane flight 3630 before departing Las Vegas McCarran International Airport for Chicago Midway Airport. The Passenger became unruly and our Employees utilized their training to manage the situation until local law enforcement could assist with removing the passenger from the flight.
Southwest Airlines has robust training programs and procedures to ensure Employees are cognizant of both the regulatory requirements and Safety concerns surrounding unruly passengers. Our Employees are trained to deny boarding to Passengers who appear to be intoxicated, as well as to address Passengers who become unruly and/or create a disturbance in flight. Our number one priority is the Safety and Security of our Customers and Employees.
It appears that the man was taken into custody, though his name has not been released, and possible charges against him have not been specified. The flight managed to take off only an hour later than the scheduled departure time.