One heroic pilot stepped in to defend a flight attendant when an American Airlines flight ended violently.

The July 21 flight from Lexington, Kentucky to Charlotte was smooth flying until it arrived at its destination.

When 25-year-old Michael Kerr was served three whiskeys after takeoff, it wasn’t not clear if he had been drinking before boarding as well.

Why an American Airlines Passenger Threatened Violence

As the plane taxied to the gate at Charlotte Douglas International, Kerr, slurring and belligerent, refused to sit down when crew members asked passengers to remain seated. When an attendant interceded, he threatened to break her jaw.  

He then rushed to the front of the plane and cursed at the crew. The altercation was caught on multiple cameras.

The Video shows the unruly passenger ignoring the pilot’s command to “take a seat, sir” and instead demanding that the man “move” out of his way.

“I don’t care what you want to do, you’re going to take a seat right now,” the pilot says.

“No, I’m not,” Kerr responds.

How a Hero Pilot Interjected and Defended the Flight Attendant

The video shows Kerr attempting to shove his way past a flight attendant, using his leg and upper body to press into her while she resists. When he succeeds moments later, shoving the woman to the floor and stumbling forward, Kerr is tackled by the pilot, who tells him to keep his hands off the flight attendant.

You don’t put your hands on my flight attendant!

American Airlines Pilot

The pilot and co-pilot used a seat belt strap to restrain Kerr’s legs and keep him from kicking until police arrived. Brian Colón, who shot the video, said it took police 15 to 20 minutes before arrival.

Colón, who is also a flight attendant for Norwegian Airlines, said he has never seen anything like this.

I was scared. I was very scared. I felt like the flight attendant’s life was in danger, and I felt like someone else needed to step in, the way he treated her.

Brian Colón to the Lexington Herald Leader

Treating Airplane Crew and Fellow Passengers With Respect is Important

These incidents seem to have increased of late. The Association of Flight Attendants (CWA) released a statement highlighting the role of alcohol in “air-rage incidents.”

“We have seen an increase in these incidents throughout the industry,” the statement says. “The biggest frustration is delays and cancellations, and that has the added problem of people sitting at airports and going to a bar and drinking alcohol. Alcohol is a leading cause of air-rage incidents, as it seems to be in this case.”

Flying has definitely changed and delays have increased (thanks to COVID-19), but taking it out on the crew doesn’t help anybody. Follow your airplane etiquette and treat everyone from the crew to your fellow passengers with respect.

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“Be modest, be respectful of others, try to understand.” – Lakhdar Brahimi