A woman was taken into FBI custody following a physical confrontation on board a flight on Wednesday. The mid-flight kerfuffle allegedly escalated over an argument about face masks despite both passengers not wearing a mask or not wearing a face covering properly.
A viral video — which has been viewed nearly 6 million times — shows a squabble between a woman and an elderly man on a Delta flight from Tampa Bay, Florida, to Atlanta, Georgia, according to the Daily Mail.
The video shows the woman wearing a mask on her chin and standing in the plane's aisle mid-flight. She is getting in the face of the older man who is sitting down in his seat.
"Put your f***ing mask on," the woman demands, to which the man replies, "I'm eating."
He then threatens to dump a drink on her head, and she challenges the man, "Stand your a** up."
The man rebuts, "Sit down Karen!"
The pejorative term "Karen" is slang for a middle-aged white woman who is angry, obnoxious, and entitled.
A flight stewardess attempts to calm the woman to no avail. A male flight attendant asks the woman, "Do you want the police to meet you on the ground?"
The woman asks, "What about him?"
She screams at the man, "Mask up!" Then she orders the flight crew to make the man put on his mask.
The two passengers exchange insults, and then the fuming woman punches the man in the face.
The man reacts by saying, "Now you're going to jail! That's assault! You're going to jail! As soon as we get to Atlanta, you're going to jail!"
The woman appears to wind up for another punch, but a flight attendant restrains her.
The woman screams at the man and then spits in his face.
"That's double going to jail," the man yells.
A flight attendant uses the beverage cart to push the woman away from the man.
The man tells the flight crew, "Look, she punched me. She slashed my face."
The woman interrupts by shrieking, "Put your f***ing mask on!" She once again instructs the flight crew to tell him to put his mask on.
The woman is then escorted to the back of the plane.
The video then jumps ahead to after the plane landed at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
Another female passenger explains, "She went crazy on the airplane — punched this man in the face, spit on him, scratched him." She added that the detained woman "poured hot water" on her leg.
The Atlanta Police Department issued a statement regarding the "disturbance" involving an "unruly passenger on a Delta flight" that led to "the injury of fellow passengers and Delta employees."
"When the aircraft arrived at the gate, officers were able to meet with exiting passengers who advised that the suspect, Ms. Patricia Cornwall had caused a disturbance while in the air," authorities noted. "Based on the statements gathered and visible evidence, officers detained Ms. Cornwall and contacted the on-call FBI agent."
"The officers then relocated with Ms. Cornwall to the domestic Atlanta Police precinct where FBI agents responded and took custody of Ms. Cornwall," the statement read.
A spokesperson for Delta issued a statement regarding the incident to WSB-TV.
"Flight 2790 from Tampa to Atlanta was met by law enforcement after an unruly customer disturbance during flight. Situations like these are rare for the vast majority of our customers and Delta has zero tolerance for unruly behavior at our airports and aboard our aircraft," the statement said.
In January, the Federal Aviation Administration announced a "zero tolerance policy" in response to an uptick in disruptive airline passengers. Last week, the FAA partnered with the Transportation Security Administration to share information of unruly passengers who could be removed from the TSA's PreCheck program.
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