LAX

Growling Airline Passenger Cited for Unruly Behavior on Flight From LAX

Video from the American Airlines flight from LAX to Salt Lake City shows the passenger confront a flight attendant who repeatedly told him return to his seat.

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A Las Vegas man who berated a flight crew and passengers and growled like a dog on an American Airlines flight Monday from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City has been cited for public intoxication and disorderly conduct.

Video shows the man standing and confronting a flight attendant at the front of the plane. The flight attendant can be heard telling the man to return to his seat and sit down.

Once seated, the man growled like a dog while taking his mask on and off his face, displayed the middle finger and swore at flight attendants, later yelling “God bless America” and screaming “Joe Biden!” according to video taken by fellow passenger Dennis Busch.

Busch also wrote on Facebook that the man verbally targeted an Asian woman, saying she and her companion “didn’t belong here.”

"He began by yelling at the Asian woman in front of me to sit down when she was standing to deal with a back issue," Busch said. "He proceeded to tell multiple flight attendants that she and her companion 'didn’t belong here.' 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.

"We were lucky to have such a well-trained crew who kept their cool throughout the flight."

The 61-year-old man was arrested at the gate where he was checked out at a hospital and cited, authorities said. No attorney was immediately listed in court records.

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About 160 people were aboard the flight out of LAX.

American Airlines confirmed the incident in a statement. The company also thanked the crew for their professionalism and customers for their understanding.

"The flight landed safely at SLC where local law enforcement removed the disruptive passenger from the aircraft. We thank our crew for their professionalism and our customers for their understanding," a spokesperson said.

Rowdy airline passengers had racked up a record $1 million in potential fines this year, a toll of the tumult in the sky. Airlines had reported about 3,900 incidents of unruly passengers as of mid-August. Three-fourths involve refusal to wear a mask and alcohol was a common factor, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

NBCLA's Jonathan Lloyd contributed to this report.

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