- A passenger on an American Airlines flight took video of passengers berating the flight crew.
- The person who posted the video to TikTok said it stemmed from an argument over face masks.
- He said a flight attendant was called a “fat gorilla” for asking a passenger to wear a face mask.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Video shows the moment a flight attendant threatened to turn a plane around after a heated confrontation with a man who hurled vulgarities when asked to put on his mask.
TikTok user Brent Underwood posted multiple videos of his American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Charlotte on June 7, that was diverted to Raleigh, North Carolina for three hours due to bad weather.
In the videos, Underwood explains that a 22-year-old male passenger sitting behind him on the flight called a female flight attendant a “fat gorilla” and told her to “suck my d—” when she asked him to put on his face mask, which is currently mandated under federal law.
Soon after, a male flight attendant spoke to the passengers on the personal address system, saying that if his coworkers continued to be disrespected, he would make the plane go back to the gate.
“I understand the delays are frustrating, this is not something we can control,” he said. “But one of the things I will not tolerate is disrespect to any of my flight attendants. We will go back to the gate and you will get arrested if you disrespect any of my flight attendants on board.
“So when we tell you to put your mask on … which is a federal mask mandate, you need to comply,” he continued.
“Once again I will not tolerate any disrespect to my flight attendants. It’s a 30 minute flight down to Charlotte, but I will be happy to go back to the gate and leave you with the cops right here in Raleigh.”
Some time later, another passenger called the flight attendant who spoke a “drama queen,” at which point the flight attendant said that the plane was being turned around.
But the flight attendant spoke again and said that they would continue on to Charlotte, but chastised the passengers for their misbehavior.
“We’ve been in this delay with you guys, just like you. We have not eaten also, we’ve been delayed here, we’ve catered to you the entire flight. We do it because we love this job. But the fact that we get insulted and mistreated by passengers over a thing we cannot control, it is disgusting.
“We’re just going to go to Charlotte because we don’t want to escalate this, but shame on the passengers who have made this flight a living hell for the flight attendants,” the flight attendant said.
The flight attendant’s speech was met with a round of applause.
The man who filmed the videos, Brent Underwood, praised the professionalism of the flight attendants in an interview with The Charlotte Observer on Thursday.
“The flight crew did absolutely nothing wrong,” Underwood said. “They were more professional than I would have been.”
American Airlines confirmed to the Charlotte Observer that the tension on the flight was in response to a mask compliance issue.
They issued a statement to the newspaper, saying: “We take the health and safety of our customers seriously, and our crew members work hard to uphold the federal mask mandate that remains in effect on aircraft and in airports.
“We value the trust our customers place in our team to care for them throughout their journey, and we expect those who choose to fly with us to treat each other – and our team members – with respect.”