Southwest employee hospitalized after being assaulted by female passenger

Southwest employee hospitalized after being assaulted by female passenger
Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg/Getty Images

A Southwest Airlines employee was taken to a Dallas hospital on Saturday after being assaulted by a passenger at Love Field Airport, according to the airline.

A female operations agent was “verbally and physically” assaulted by a female passenger as a flight from Dallas to La Guardia Airport in New York City was boarding, Southwest told CNN in an email. The employee was transported to a local hospital and released on Saturday evening, according to the email. She is at home resting, the airline said.

“Southwest Airlines maintains a zero-tolerance policy regarding any type of harassment or assault and fully support our employee as we cooperate with local authorities regarding this unacceptable incident,” the email said.

Southwest said the passenger was taken into custody by local law enforcement. CNN has reached out to the Dallas Police Department for more information but has not heard back.

The incident is one among many verbal and physical attacks on flight staff that have been reported during the Covid-19 pandemic. Flight crews have reported 5,114 unruly passenger incidents since the start of 2021, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. FAA data shows more than 70% of incidents were over masks.

The incidents have ranged from shouting to spitting and physical altercations with airline staff.

In May this year a Southwest Airlines passenger who allegedly punched a flight attendant was fined more than $26,000, the FAA said.

The agency announced earlier this month it had fined 10 violent airline passengers a total of nearly $250,000.

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