A white passenger was seen striking a Black passenger on a Frontier Airlines flight, allegedly after the man took too long to retrieve his bag from an overhead bin.
The flight from Philadelphia to Miami landed at 9:30 p.m. on Sunday night. According to Kiera Pierre Louis — a hip-hop artist also known as Milli Miami — who recorded the incident and shared it to social media, passengers were de-boarding the plane when a white passenger got upset because he believed a Black passenger was taking too long to retrieve his bag from an overhead bin.
The video shows a white passenger repeatedly punch the Black man and tackle him down against a seat.
Other passengers immediately tried to separate the two while some verbalized the need for police or security, and a Black woman and white woman also engaged in struggle.
“Call the cops,” some said, as a Frontier employee said over an intercom that the fight needed to be broken up, and that she was going to call security. A flight attendant also physically attempted to end the brawl. Eventually, a group of passengers was able to pull the white passenger off the man and move him further away from the altercation. The Black man appeared to look like he was going to engage the man but changed his mind.
“Get out of this plane!” someone shouted. “I don’t care who started it, get out of this plane!” Several Black passengers who stepped in to help were gathering themselves but were soon scolded by a man and a woman who were trying to exit the plane. “Come on with that sh-t. Can you guys just go,” shouted a passenger. “Can you wait? I gotta get my son. Calm down, calm down,” responded a passenger on the other end of the tirade.
Although the comment cannot be heard on the footage, Louis said that the white passenger used the N-word when he first expressed that the man was moving too slowly.
She told Local10, “You can see the white man on top of the Black passenger just beating him between the seats. The flight attendant got involved. The white man’s wife got involved. His son, I believe, and his son’s girlfriend — everyone was just involved.”
Louis said the white passenger was permitted to leave the plane but that the Black man was held back.
“Racism, of course,” she said. “The Black passenger had to wait on the plane, when he didn’t even start it, and the police, while we were walking off the plane, walked right past the person, the white man who actually initiated everything. ”
According to Miami-Dade Police, the Black passenger was not held back but wanted to stay to file a police report, although he ultimately decided not to press charges.
Frontier Airlines said in a statement, “Yesterday as a flight from Philadelphia to Miami was deplaning at MIA, a physical altercation broke out among passengers who were towards the back of the aircraft. The flight crew requested law enforcement assistance. All passengers involved were asked to remain on the aircraft however some disregarded the flight crew’s instructions. Ultimately, local law enforcement became involved.”
The Federal Aviation Administration announced in June that airlines have reported more than 3,000 incidents involving unruly passengers since Jan. 1, and more than three quarters of the incidents had to do with passengers refusing to wear masks.