Flight attendants aboard an American Airlines flight were forced to duct tape a woman after she allegedly attacked the flight crew and attempted to open the exit doors while the plane was in mid-flight. The dangerous altercation was partially filmed on TikTok when a panicked passenger recorded the woman as she exited the plane.
In the video, the unruly passenger can be heard screaming and shouting from first-class, until the videographer made it to the front of the plane, towards the cockpit. At that point, the camera was pointed at a gray-haired woman sitting in a first-class seat, duct tape around her mouth, hands, and body. In the TikTok, the woman can be heard screaming “You! You! You!” while passengers exited the flight.
American Airlines Flight 1774 from Dallas/Fort Worth airport was delayed by more than three hours last week. The flight finally departed at around midnight, though the originally scheduled boarding time was around 8:00 p.m. It was about an hour-and-a-half into the flight when the unruly passenger began screaming, threatening to open exit doors as she begged flight attendants to let her off the plane.
In a video posted by @lol.airee, Arieana Mathena described the events aboard the flight, as passengers worried for their safety and flight attendants dealt with the disorderly woman. The incident occurred “on a flight leaving Dallas/Fort Worth that was supposed to board at 8:00 p.m.,” Mathena explained in her TikTok. “It didn’t board until 12:00 a.m.”
“It was about a 2-hour flight and at about 1:30 a.m. they started turning the lights on,” Arieana Mathena described. “We see flight attendants running up and down the aisle frantically… whispering to each other, talking on the phone to somebody.”
The TikToker, who was a passenger on the American Airlines flight, said that the situation on the plane was “just frantic. Everybody is kind of like, okay, now we’re alert. What’s going on?”
According to her account, “flight attendants weren’t saying anything.” Instead, “they were just running to first-class, grabbing bags from the overhead.” The flight attendants were also seen locking bathroom doors but didn’t explain why.
“It was just chaos and nobody knew what was going on,” Mathena told her viewers. Finally, after a while without an explanation, “the pilot goes over the intercom and he makes an announcement saying, ‘we ask that you guys please stay in your seats for the remainder of the flight unless it’s an extreme emergency. We understand there is a bad situation in the plane right now and we’re working on fixing it.’”
Arieana Mathena says that it was those words that sparked a larger panic among the passengers, who began thinking about the “worst-case scenario.” The passengers started hearing more and more screaming, as passengers began to quiet within the cabin. The passengers heard the screams but were reportedly not told any additional information until they were about to land.
Mathena told her viewers that “the flight attendant sat near us and someone asked her like, ‘hey, can you tell us what’s going on? Everyone’s kind of scared… we just need some explanation.’” It was only then that the flight attendant “started explaining that there was a passenger in the first-class section that had [a mental health disorder]” and “had an outburst… had the urge to get off the plane.”
The unruly woman shouted that “I need to get off this plane now,” according to Mathena, and “went to the exits and was banging on them saying ‘you need to let me off this plane.’” Mathena reported on TikTok that “it took all five flight attendants to subdue her” and “take her down.”
The flight attendant told Mathena and other passengers that the woman “was biting and spitting, and attacking people.” This forced the flight crew to duct tape the woman to her seat, to prevent any additional harm to the plane.
Arieana Mathena explained that since the flight had already gotten delayed, the pilot decided not to make an emergency stop. She said that would have canceled the flight entirely, making a bigger mess for American Airlines and the passengers.
“So… they subdued her until we could get to our airport,” Mathena explained. American Airlines confirmed the incident, explaining in a statement that the unruly woman assaulted the flight crew and even bit a flight attendant during her outburst. The woman also “attempted to open the forward boarding door,” according to the airline. She was restrained “for the safety and security of other customers and our crew.”
After the plane arrived in Charlotte, emergency personnel took the woman to a local hospital, and was placed on American Airline’s “internal” no-fly list. The woman has not been identified publicly and her name has not been revealed by American Airlines or law enforcement.