Patricia Cornwall, a passenger on a Delta flight last week, was in federal custody after she shouted at and allegedly slapped another passenger who wasn’t wearing a mask.
Police said Cornwall caused a “disturbance” in flight that led to the “injury of fellow passengers and Delta employees.”
Video of the incident, filmed on flight 2790 from Tampa to Atlanta last Thursday, went viral after it appeared on Twitter the following day. The footage appears to show Cornwall demanding a male passenger put on his mask, while her own face is also uncovered.
She and the male passenger exchanged profanities and insults as the flight crew and another passenger tried to intervene. Cornwall appears to slap the man and spit in his face before a host of passengers and flight attendants restrain her and escort her to the rear of the plane.
The charges filed against Cornwall, if any, were not immediately clear Monday night.
Video from Delta Flight Goes Viral
The video uploaded to social media Friday by ATL Uncensored begins with Cornwall standing in the aisle, pointing an accusing finger at a seated man and demanding that he put on a mask, as required of all airline passengers by a federal mandate.
According to TMZ, the man had his mask off so he could eat and drink.
“Put your f—king mask on,” she says, while her own mask appears lowered under her chin. The flight crew is seen entering the frame as the argument escalates.
“Sit down, Karen,” the man replies to the amusement of other passengers.
Cornwall is heard again commanding him to “mask up.”
“You mask up, b—,” the other passenger replies.
“What did you call me?” Cornwall is heard to say, before appearing to slap the man across his face. She is seen clenching her fist and winding up as if to punch as a flight attendant holds her arm back.
“Now you’re going to jail as soon as we land,” the man says. “That’s assault, b—!”
Just as more of the flight crew emerge to contain the situation, Cornwall appears to spit in the man’s face.
“You spit on me,” the man says with some disbelief. “Now you’re double going to jail, b—!”
Cornwall appears to take hold of the man’s arm and continues to hurl expletives and insults at the seated passenger. A host of flight crew and passengers — at least six are seen in the video — converge on her and are eventually seen escorting Cornwall to the rear of the plane.
The video cuts to a shot of the tarmac in Atlanta, where Cornwall is seen being taken into police custody. A woman off-screen is heard saying: “ She went crazy on the airplane, punched this man in the face, spit on him, scratched him [and] poured hot water on my leg.”
The alleged hot water incident wasn’t captured in the ATL Uncensored video.
Patricia Cornwall Arrested in Atlanta
The plane landed at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport around 6:10 p.m., after a 90-minute flight. Atlanta police had been alerted by the flight crew and were waiting at the gate, according to reports.
“Based on the statements gathered and visible evidence, officers detained Ms. Cornwall and contacted the on-call FBI agent,” local authorities said in a statement. “The officers then relocated with Ms. Cornwall to the domestic Atlanta Police precinct where FBI agents responded and took custody of Ms. Cornwall.”
It’s unclear if Patricia Cornwall is facing charges, or if she’s still in police custody as of Monday evening. The man in the video who she appeared to slap has not been publicly identified.
“Situations like these are rare for the vast majority of our customers,” a spokesperson for the airline told the New York Post.
“Delta has zero tolerance for unruly behavior at our airports and aboard our aircraft.”