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Southwest Airlines flight attendant loses two teeth in assault by passenger: union

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KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images

A flight attendant for Southwest Airlines was attacked by a passenger during a flight over the weekend and lost two teeth in the assault, according to a union president.

What are the details?

Transport Workers Union of America Local 556 President Lyn Montgomery brought up the incident in a letter to Southwest CEO Gary Kelly on Monday, urging him to boost security on flights to protect workers.

According to NBC News, Montgomery wrote that "From April 8 to May 15, there were 477 passenger misconduct incidents on Southwest Airlines aircraft."

"The unprecedented number of incidents has reached an intolerable level, with passenger non-compliance events also becoming more aggressive in nature," she argued.

The union boss said one flight attendant working over the weekend was "seriously assaulted, resulting in injuries to the face and a loss of two teeth."

A Southwest spokesperson told ABC News Tuesday that the incident occurred Sunday morning on a flight from Sacramento, California, to San Diego. Neither the passenger nor flight attendant were identified, but both are female.

"The passenger repeatedly ignored standard inflight instructions and became verbally and physically abusive upon landing," the spokesman said, adding that police took the passenger into custody upon landing.

The flight attendant was hospitalized but has been released.

What is FAA doing?

Fox News reported that the Federal Aviation Administration "has been cracking down on 'unruly' passengers" of late.

On Monday, the FAA tweeted, "The FAA has proposed fines between $9K and $15K against five passengers for allegedly interfering with and, in two cases, assaulting flight attendants. We have zero tolerance for unruly or dangerous behavior. Our fines can reach up to $35K."

NBC reported that "in a typical year, the agency sees 100 to 150 formal cases of bad passenger behavior. Since the start of this year, that number has jumped to 2,500, including about 1,900 passengers who refused to comply with the federal mask mandate, according to the FAA."

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