A Frontier Airlines passenger was arrested for allegedly groping the breasts of two attendants and punching a third before being taped to his seat for the remainder of his flight from Philadelphia to Miami, per multiple reports.
The big picture: It's been an unprecedented year for reports of unruly and violent airline passengers, with the Federal Aviation Administration dealing with hundreds of cases despite announcing in January a new "zero tolerance" policy.
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Many involve passengers who refuse to comply with pandemic face mask guidelines, but many others concern incidents of violence.
The Association of Flight Attendants said in a statement that this latest incident involving a "drunk and irate passenger" who "verbally, physically, and sexually assaulted multiple members of the crew" was "one of the worst examples" of what flight attendants have faced in the past year.
Details: Miami-Dade County Police Department charged Maxwell Berry, 22, with three counts of battery following the incident on Saturday night.
Frontier Airlines initially released a statement on Tuesday saying the flight attendants would be "relieved of flying" while the incident was investigated, per the New York Times. But the Association of Flight Attendants accused the airline of suspending the crew as "a knee-jerk reaction to a short video clip."
What they're saying: Frontier said in an emailed statement Tuesday night that it "maintains the utmost value, respect, concern and support for all of our flight attendants, including those who were assaulted on this flight."
"We are supporting the needs of these team members and are working with law enforcement to fully support the prosecution of the passenger involved," the statement added. "The inflight crew members’ current paid leave status is in line with an event of this nature pending an investigation."
Go deeper: In-flight tensions at historic high
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