Southwest Agent Hospitalized, Passenger Taken to Jail

Accused attacker was already being kicked off the flight
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 14, 2021 2:45 PM CST
Woman Arrested for Assault, Southwest Agent Hospitalized
Fle photo of Southwest Airlines jets at gates at Love Field in Dallas.   (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)

In the latest update from the unfriendly skies, a Southwest Airlines operations agent was hospitalized after a passenger who was already in the process of being kicked off the plane hit her with a closed fist to the head. The agent, part of the airline staff that oversees boarding and manages the plane’s weight, was treated and released, CNN reports. The passenger, Arielle Jean Jackson, was taken into custody by police, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Jackson boarded the flight from Love Field in Dallas to La Guardia in New York a little after 12:30pm Saturday and walked straight to the back of the plane. She got into a verbal fight with a flight attendant there who kicked her off the plane. Moving back to the front of the plane, she had another altercation that turned violent.

“Southwest Airlines maintains a zero-tolerance policy regarding any type of harassment or assault and [we] fully support our employee as we cooperate with local authorities regarding this unacceptable incident,” the airline said in a statement, per CBS DFW. Reports of unruly passengers have been on the rise, prompting the FAA to ask airports to ease up on the booze, and refer cases of assaults to the FBI. The Southwest agent isn’t even the first airline employee to get punched on a plane this month. United Airlines recently reminded employees to follow de-escalation training and that there are better options for dealing with unruly passengers than duct tape. (More unruly passenger stories.)

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