A Delta Air Lines flight to Los Angeles was diverted to Oklahoma City on Thursday after a passenger attacked a flight attendant and an air marshal who intervened, officials said.
Flight 342 left Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC, and landed at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City after the crew reported the disturbance, the Federal Aviation Administration said.
A passenger on the plane became combative and attacked a flight attendant, said Oklahoma City police captain Arthur Gregory.
“An air marshal on board intervened when the passenger attacked the air marshal,”[ads1]; he said. “The air marshal was initially able to get them into custody.”
The Oklahoma City Police Department said officers boarded the plane after it landed around 7:30 p.m., removing the passenger, who was later identified as Ariel Pennington, 35, from the plane.
Pennington was booked into the Oklahoma County Detention Center for “complaints of disorderly conduct and public drunkenness,” the department said Friday in a statement to NBC News.
Officials did not provide information about the conditions of the flight attendant and the air marshal.
Delta said in a written statement that they “applaud the swift action and professionalism of the crew and Federal Air Marshals” on the plane that was diverted after the passenger “became unruly.”
The plane spent about an hour on the ground before resuming flights to Los Angeles, according to Gregory.
There has been an increase in disruptive passengers or violent attacks on aircraft this year, leading to an FAA “zero tolerance” policy that was in place in January.
The FAA has fined some passengers tens of thousands of dollars. At the end of November, the agency proposed more than $ 161,800 in total in fines against eight passengers.
There have been more than 5,500 “unruly passenger reports” this year, with more than 3,900 mask-related incidents, according to the FAA.
In an attack on a flight attendant in October, a 20-year-old male passenger allegedly hit a companion in the face and gave her a concussion.
In May, a woman in a Southwest Airlines fight hit a flight attendant, causing the attendant to lose two of her teeth, officials said.
Some passengers have been charged with federal crimes. Just before Thanksgiving, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland instructed federal prosecutors to make crimes against commercial airlines a priority.
TSA Administrator David P. Pekoske recorded the latest incident Friday in a chirping.
“The TSA does not tolerate any conduct that endangers the safety of a commercial airline and is working with fed partners / local authorities on the matter,” he wrote.
Sara Mhaidli contributed.