After refusing to serve an already intoxicated passenger more alcohol a Delta Airlines flight attendant made a painful experience as the customer became aggressive and “Head-Butted” a crew member during the argument.
Serving of alcohol on the flight continues to make headlines every now and then as passengers can’t control their intake and then go overboard with their behavior, unfortunately some of these situations end with physical altercations where individuals have to be restrained and/or the flight has to make an emergency landing such as in this case.
Local NBC Station WESH2 (access here) reported about the incident and arrest of the offender.
An Orlando-bound Delta Airlines flight made an emergency landing overnight, after police said a passenger attacked a flight attendant.
According to police, the flight was headed from Salt Lake City to Orlando. It made an emergency landing just before 2 a.m. Friday in Oklahoma City.
Police said the passenger, 28-year-old Derek Edward Maas, “heat-butted” a flight attendant, when the flight attendant refused to serve him more alcohol.
Maas, of Utah, was charged with public drunkenness, according to a police report.
Maas, had been restrained, but police said the captain determined that he needed to be removed from the flight to ensure the safety of the passengers and crew.
Officers said Maas was very unsteady on his feet, had red, watery eyes and lost his balance when he walked toward the officer. Police said Maas had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath.
Crew members told police that initially Maas appeared intoxicated, but they did not believe he was dangerous. After being served two alcoholic drinks, Maas demanded more and a flight attendant refused. That’s when Maas became verbally abusive to one flight attendant, and “headbutted” another one.
With the assistance of several other passengers, the flight attendants were able to get Maas under control and restrain him.
Police said while being taken to jail, Maas admitted to drinking alcoholic beverages before boarding the plane.
It’s difficult for airlines to police intoxicated passengers boarding the plane especially when they don’t stick out as aggressive or loud during that process.
Airline employees won’t start a fight with customers about apparent drunkenness unless there is a clear indicator and as it’s apparent in this case there is good reason for it too as such a situation can very quickly escalate.
The sale of alcohol onboard at $6 per miniature bottle is still a good moneymaker for the airlines and therefore they are hesitant to cease the sales altogether. And there is no way to restrict passengers from drinking prior to the flight even though they could be banned from boarding when there is any indication of them being intoxicated.
As it’s pretty clear that passengers aren’t going to police themselves airlines might want to consider stopping the distribution of alcohol but then why should the majority of people who just like to have a single drink on board suffer because of a few isolated cases where other passengers get out of control?