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American Airlines flight diverts after passenger allegedly punches flight attendant

An American Airlines flight from Texas to Montana was forced to divert after a passenger allegedly punched a flight attendant who asked him to stop kicking a fellow flier’s seat.

Keith Edward Fagiana, of Las Vegas, was aboard Flight 1497 from Dallas to Bozeman on Wednesday when another passenger complained that he was “violently kicking” their seat, WPDE reported.

When the male flight attendant told Fagiana to stop, he allegedly “yelled expletives” at the crew member and punched him in the stomach four times, according to a criminal complaint cited by the outlet.

The flight attendant and other passengers tackled Fagiana and placed him in flex cuffs.

The pilot declared a level two threat at about 1:50 p.m. and diverted to Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport, where Fagiana was met by law enforcement and charged with interference with a flight crew.


American Airlines passenger Keith Edward Fagiana
American Airlines passenger Keith Edward Fagiana is seen being removed from a flight after he allegedly assaulted a flight attendant. Dazia Poland

Fagiana being removed from plane
Fagiana was charged with interference with a flight crew. Dazia Poland

Passenger Dazia Poland shot video of Fagiana being led off the flight, which landed at 2:20 p.m. and took off for Bozeman about 30 minutes later, according to ABC 7 Amarillo.

Poland said another passenger told her Fagiana was spitting at people, adding that she saw him banging his head against the window.

Fagiana complained that the flex cuffs were hurting, but when airport police  removed the plastic restraints to switch them with regular handcuffs, he allegedly kicked a cop in the groin and spit on other officers, WPDE reported, citing the complaint.

He admitted to fighting with the officers because he didn’t want to be arrested, according to the outlet.

Fagiana told the FBI he did not remember what happened on the plane but admitted that he drank Captain Morgan rum at various bars before the flight.

When cops took off the flex cuffs Fagiana kicked an airport police officer in the groin and spit on other officers, according to the criminal complaint.

“Acts of violence are not tolerated by American Airlines and we are committed to working closely with law enforcement in their investigation,” American Airlines told ABC 7.

A spokesman for the Association of Professional Flight Attendants told Fox 4 in a statement: “Yesterday, another Flight Attendant was assaulted by a customer. Our priority is to care for the affected crewmember. This violent behavior must stop.”

The FBI and the FAA are investigating the incident.

Ron McCallum, a pilot and aviation attorney not involved in this case, told Fox 4 that the incident should amount to a felony.

“Felony convictions under federal law can carry with them, not only fines and penalties, but very severe and lengthy periods of jail time,” he told the outlet.

“In this case, it’s escalated to violence. That’s a felony under federal law,” McCallum added.

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Written by SaleemBaloch

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