SALT LAKE CITY — A man was arrested at the Salt Lake City International Airport Monday after witnesses said he berated crew and fellow passengers during a flight.
The incident happened Monday on American Airlines flight 1802 from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City.
Dennis Busch, who witnessed the man's behavior and arrest, said the passenger yelled at a woman of Asian ethnicity, telling her to sit down while she was standing up "to deal with a back issue."
"He then told flight attendants that the woman and the person she was with 'didn't belong here,'" Busch wrote in an Instagram post.
"After asking him to calm down the man went into a complete meltdown of racist, sexist and belligerent comments, culminating in his arrest at the gate," Busch wrote. "We were lucky to have such a well trained crew who kept their cool throughout the flight!"
A Salt Lake City International Airport spokesperson confirmed that police arrested the unruly passenger after the flight landed. They later said that the man was taken to a hospital to be checked out. They then cited him for public intoxication.
American Airlines also confirmed that the passenger was removed by police.
"We thank our crew for their professionalism and our customers for their understanding," a company spokesperson added in the statement.
The Federal Aviation Administration says it has seen a disturbing spike in reports of unruly passenger behavior in 2021. The FAA has initiated 750 such investigations so far in 2021 — a number three times higher than a typical calendar year.
Earlier this year, the agency instituted a "zero-tolerance" policy when it comes to unruly passenger behavior.
This story was originally published by Spencer Burt on Scripps station KSTU in Salt Lake City.