Spirit Airlines Gate Agent Hospitalized Following Passenger Attack

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Two gate agents working for Spirit Airlines in Detroit Metro Airport have been injured after three passengers became aggressive on Sunday. One agent was transferred to a nearby hospital for treatment. Two of the three passengers have been arrested, while the third was released with a warning.

Spirit airlines A321
Two Spirit Airlines gate agents were injured, and one was hospitalized. Photo: Getty Images

Not a fight

According to a statement by the airline, the incident occurred after the gate staff asked a group of passengers to check the size of their carry-on bags. The passengers were about to board flight 646 from Detroit to Atlanta when they were asked to confirm that their bags were of the appropriate size.

When asked to verify their bags, the passengers became defensive and refused. The gate agents chose to close the boarding door to prevent the passengers from boarding until their bags were checked. At this point, it’s thought the passengers physically attacked the Spirit Airlines staff.

A video of the incident was shared by a passenger and made national news. Many people describing the incident as a fight. However, Spirit denied this, saying that,

This was not a fight. Describing it as a fight is untrue to our agents. In actuality, three passengers attacked our agents without provocation.

Actions have consequences

The statement continued to say that,

This violent behavior is completely unacceptable and has absolutely no place in airports or any other place of business. We will not tolerate abusive behavior of any kind, and these passengers will be banned from any future travel with Spirit.”

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The airline then confirmed that law enforcement had become involved and that any further questions about the incident should be direct to them. However, since then, Spirit confirmed that two of the three passengers were arrested while the third was detained by police but released with a citation. As per the airline’s statement, all three passengers have been banned from flying with Spirit in the future.

Spirit Airlines violent passengers
This isn’t the first time Spirit Airlines has had to deal with passengers turning to violence. Photo: Getty Images

This is the second time in just two weeks that a Spirit Airlines passenger has turned violent. Earlier this month, another passenger became enraged when a child sat behind her repetitively kicked her seat. The passenger then admitted to attacking the child’s mother.

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The incident this weekend isn’t even the first time Spirit’s gate agents have been attacked; three passengers attacked a gate agent over a delayed flight last summer. Once again, the three passengers involved in the incident were banned from flying with Spirit in the future. And it isn’t just Spirit that has to deal with these types of incidents; Delta recently had a similar incident.

Stricter rules for violence

However, the alarming regularity of physical attacks on airline and airport staff begs the question; If a passenger turns to physical violence, should they be banned on all airlines? The no-fly list is usually reserved for serious criminal offenses and acts of terrorism.

However, there is an argument that anyone who uses physical violence against staff or other passengers should be banned, at least temporarily. The FAA did recently announce new rules regarding physical violence, but is it enough?

What do you think? Should physical violence of any kind result in a ban from all airlines?  Please drop us a comment sharing your thoughts.

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