An unruly passenger is facing several charges after allegedly kissing and then punching a flight attendant on an American Airlines flight. Daniela Velez-Reyes, 25, of Chicago, who was identified by the Indianapolis Airport Authority upon landing, has been arrested on suspicion of battery, disorderly conduct, criminal recklessness, and resisting law enforcement, according to News Max.
The passenger was on flight 1284 from Miami to Chicago when it was diverted to Indianapolis on Monday afternoon. The unruly passenger caused the pilot to land early while the plane was over the Indiana/Kentucky border.
“She was disoriented through the entire flight, not being able to find her seat, walking back and forth,” said Marian Frendt, an eyewitness on AA1284. “And when she came to the back, she was sweating profusely.”
The unruly passenger became more erratic as the flight went on. “You could hear someone screaming expletives in the back repeatedly,” Jim Saviano said.
“Then she started kicking the seat of the passenger in front of her, and he apparently turned around to complain,” said Frendt. “And she hit him.”
Passengers said at that time a flight attendant took the woman to the back of the plane. The unruly behavior grew worse as a flight attendant attempted to calm Velez-Reyes.
“She was trying to talk the girl down,” Saviano said. “She seemed really calm. She was talking about her boyfriend. And then, all of a sudden, she grabbed (the flight attendant) by the face, kissed her and then punched her in the face.”
That’s the pilot came over the intercom asking them to help restrain the unruly passenger. As Velez-Reyes’s conduct became more unruly, a set of large meant ran to restrain her.
“He said I need large passengers to restrain another passenger. So when I hear ‘large passenger,’ I’m thinking something big is going down,” Saviano said. After landing safely, Velez-Reyes was escorted off the plane by police and picked up by the Marion County Sheriff.
Velez-Reyes spent a night in the county jail. She is charged with felony counts of disrupting the operation of an aircraft, battery against a public safety officer and disorderly conduct.
She also faces misdemeanor counts of battery, resisting law enforcement and criminal recklessness. With a lack of access to law enforcement while flying, flight attendants are charged with the responsibility to handle people who misbehave.
An unruly passenger is someone who disrupts an aircraft on a commercial plane. Their bad behavior poses risk to the safety and security of crew and other passengers.