Passengers waiting to board an American Airlines flight on Sunday had their afternoon enlivened by a brawl at the departure gate. Up for grabs, and reportedly the cause of the brawl, were several standby seats. One man was arrested, and Miami Dade Police are keen to speak to three others.
Shortage of standby seats cause the brawl
According to Miami Dade Police Department reports, the brawl occurred around 14:00 near Gate D12 on Sunday, April 25. American Airlines has two flights to Chicago operating on Sunday afternoons. AA438 heads off to Chicago at 13:40, and AA2303 departs at 15:38.
The police report tagged to the arrested man says the brawl was over standby seats. According to the police, airport surveillance video revealed that the fight started when the arrested man punched another man in the face as he turned away from the airline counter. The brawl then broke into two groups, with several people punching and kicking each other.
Other passengers captured the fracas and posted the footage on social media. Trying to work out exactly what went on is difficult. But Miami Dade police say there were four aggressors and three victims, including a female.
With three standby seats available and four passengers wanting them, American Airlines gate staff said three men could fly, and one stays behind to catch the next flight. The brawl then broke out between those four men and three other people also at the service counter.
— Billy Corben (@BillyCorben) April 25, 2021
One minute of mayhem at departure gate
The video footage posted online shows the brawl breaking into two distinct groups that lasted about one minute. Some other passengers and some gate staff intervened to break the fight up. The men who started the brawl then swiftly left the departure gate. Three men got away, but police picked one up nearby.
That was a 20-year-old Chicago man, Jameel Tremain Decquir. The victims declined to press charges. However, police charged Mr Decquir with disorderly conduct and breach of the peace. The police report says;
“Eventually bystanders attempted to break up the fight. The Defendant and Co-Defendants fled on foot. The Defendant was detained by Gate D15 and was positively identified by this Officer via cellphone video provided by bystanders.”
The police know who the three other men throwing the punches were. However, they are yet to catch up with them. Possibly, they wisely decided to drive back to Chicago.
Men may not be welcome back at American Airlines
Either way, it’s unlikely American Airlines will welcome Mr Decquir and his mates onboard one of their flights anytime soon. Despite hearing about airlines banning people for not wearing face masks, it is uncommon for airlines to ban passengers. However, airlines are well within their rights to do so.
More common is simply removing a problematic passenger from a flight. That usually comes about because a passenger refused to belt up, was rude to the crew, or wouldn’t follow directions. Often the airline will carry that passenger on a later flight.
But a brawl at the departure gate is a bit more serious than not sitting down when asked to. As for successfully scoring a standby seat, while Simple Flying doesn’t know the ins and outs of American Airlines’ standby list protocols, we’re pretty sure punching someone at the departure gate is not going to move you up the list.