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Police, flight attendants respond to disorderly passenger on flight to SLC

Posted at 10:09 PM, Sep 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-08 00:09:02-04

SALT LAKE CITY — On Monday, a video went viral showing a man on an American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City drunkenly shouting at flight attendants and snarling while removing his mask multiple times.

At one point, it even shows him confronting flight attendants and telling them to let him through because they were on the ground when they were not, in fact.

WATCH: Man arrested at SLC airport for unruly behavior on flight

Salt Lake City Police identified the man Tuesday as 61-year-old Timothy Armstrong, a resident of Nevada.

Police took Armstrong into custody after the plane was safely on the tarmac. He was then transported to the hospital.

He is now charged with public intoxication as well as disorderly conduct for his actions.

“We have those partnerships with the airport — creating safe environments for employees, staff members, travelers,” Sgt. Mark Wian with the Salt Lake City Police Department said about incidents like this.

Wian said the pilots in the plane notified the SLCPD Airport Division while they were still in the air, and police were able to meet them on the ground.

All of this was captured by Dennis Busch on his phone, showing the devolving incident that ended with Armstrong being taken off the plane by officers.

All of this was disturbing to Paul Hartshorn Jr., a spokesperson for the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA).

The APFA represents over 25,000 American Airlines flight attendants, just like the ones who were being yelled at in the video.

“We are seeing an increased level of hostility in this industry like we have never seen before,” Hartshorn said. "The situation is completely out of control.”

To exemplify the problem, he says that from the month of July, his organization has received 16,000 safety complaints from flight attendants, and 65 percent of them have been because of unruly passengers.

Hartshorn says safety is the number one priority.

"Anyone who hurts passengers, flight attendants, anyone on board the aircraft will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," he added.

The APFA has worked with the U.S. Secretaries of Transportation and State to make sure they work on universal procedures for law enforcement across the country to deal with unruly passengers.