American Airlines Flight Diverted After Alleged Sexual Assault

An American Airlines flight was diverted on Tuesday due to allegations of assault. The aircraft was redirected to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the man was arrested by airport police for public intoxication.

Airbus A321
The Airbus A321 made a diversion while on the way to Salt Lake City. Photo: Airbus

What happened?

CNN reports that the incident occurred on Flight AA807 from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Salt Lake City, Utah. While on the airliner, a woman told the crew that a man forcibly grabbed her by the crotch shortly after takeoff. Subsequently, the staff moved the woman and her daughter to another part of the plane. 

After his arrest, the man was identified as James Clayton Cholewinski-Boy and was charged with abusive sexual contact. According to a complaint filed on Friday, Cholewinski-Boy threw up his hands and said ‘sorry’ after the incident happened. 

Airbus A321 Runway
The A321 landed safely at Tulsa following the incident. Photo: Airbus

Serious incident

He was released the day after the arrest, on his own recognizance, the Tulsa Municipal Jail told CNN. However, due to the serious nature of the incident, the U.S Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma, Trent Shores wants people to know about the reports.

“The public should know these allegations pertain to criminal sexual misconduct by Mr. Cholewinski-Boy against a female passenger, not a threat to the plane or air travel,” Shores said, as reported by CNN.

Furthermore, American Airlines made a statement, which praised the swift response of the crew on the flight. The carrier feels that the welfare of the passenger was prioritized when it came to the events during the flight.

“The quick actions of our crew ensured the safety and wellbeing of our customers on the flight,” the statement said, as shared by CNN.

Airbus A321 in air
American Airlines commended its crew on its swift decision making. Photo: Airbus

Important decisions

Quick action has to be taken when it comes to inflight incidents such as this. The confined space, sensitive operation and lack of security mean strict protocol needs to be followed. By diverting the flight, ground staff could deal with the man more effectively. 

Previously, an American Airlines passenger claimed that a flight attendant assaulted him during a flight. The incident happened in January, on Flight 1798 from Charlotte, NC, to Philadelphia, PA. Later on this year, a disruptive American Airlines passenger was forcibly removed from the aircraft.

Furthermore, a highly intoxicated United Airlines passenger assaulted flight attendants in March. This caused the man to face 21 years in jail due to the severity of the incident. Ultimately, it can scary to deal with assault situations while on a flight. Careful measures need to be taken with every incident.

Simple Flying reached out to American Airlines regarding the incident but didn’t hear back before publication. We will update the article with any further announcements.

What do you think about the way American Airlines dealt with this week’s incident that resulted in a diversion to Tulsa? Let us know your thoughts on the events in the comment section.