Frontier Airlines issue involving duct-taped passenger 'resolved,' flight attendant union says

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An "issue" involving multiple Frontier Airlines' flight attendants and an unruly male passenger who was duct-taped to his seat has been "resolved," the president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, Sara Nelson, said Tuesday.  

In a tweet, she wrote that she was "glad to report that @FlyFrontier [was] doing the right thing."

She did not elaborate further on the matter. 

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"Thanks to so many people for supporting the work of Flight Attendants and the incredibly difficult jobs crews are charged with doing right now," she said.

In a statement released earlier on the same day, however, Nelson blasted the budget airline's initial decision to place flight attendants on paid leave pending an investigation of the incident.

"Flight Attendants have faced an onslaught of disruptions on our flights this year. The situation on Frontier this weekend is one of the worst examples. A drunk and irate passenger verbally, physically, and sexually assaulted multiple members of the crew. When he refused to comply after multiple attempts to de-escalate, the crew was forced to restrain the passenger with the tools available to them onboard. We are supporting the crew," she wrote.

Nelson said that Frontier management had suspended the crew as a "knee-jerk reaction to a short video clip that did not show the full incident."

"Management should be supporting the crew at this time not suspending them. We will be fighting this with every contractual and legal tool available, but we would hope there will be no need for that as management comes to their senses and supports the people on the frontline charged with keeping all passengers safe," she added. "As noted in our unruly passenger survey, if this is not immediately corrected, Flight Attendants may feel unsafe to come to work. Management has a legal duty to maintain a safe work environment for employees."

Frontier Airlines told FOX Business that it did not have any updates on the situation, but that it was working with law enforcement to prosecute the passenger.

"During a flight from Philadelphia to Miami on July 31, a passenger made inappropriate physical contact with two flight attendants and subsequently physically assaulted another flight attendant. As a result, the passenger needed to be restrained until the flight landed in Miami and law enforcement arrived," the company said. 

"Frontier Airlines maintains the utmost value, respect, concern and support for all of our flight attendants, including those who were assaulted on this flight. We are supporting the needs of these team members and are working with law enforcement to fully support the prosecution of the passenger involved. The inflight crew members’ current paid leave status is in line with an event of this nature pending an investigation," the airline wrote.

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According to the Miami-Dade police, the passenger – 22-year-old Maxwell Berry of Norwalk, Ohio – had two drinks while onboard the flight from Philadelphia to Miami and ordered another, 

Berry then brushed an empty cup against the backside of a flight attendant, who immediately told him not to touch her.

This booking image provided by the Miami-Dade Police Department shows Maxwell Berry, 22, of Norwalk, Ohio, who was arrested Saturday, July 21, 2021, at Miami International Airport and charged with three counts of misdemeanor battery, according to a M (Miami-Dade Police Department via AP)

Additionally, Berry spilled a drink on his shirt, went to the bathroom and exited shirtless and a flight attendant helped him retrieve another shirt from his carry-on luggage. 

After walking around the plane for 15 minutes, Berry allegedly grabbed the chests of two female flight attendants. 

The pair then called over a male flight attendant to watch Berry, who punched the other man in the face, officials said.

The flight attendants and nearby passengers restrained Berry in his seat using tape and a seatbelt extender, as seen in a cellphone video taken during the incident.

"He started to get aggressive and then basically attack the male flight attendant," fellow passenger Alfredo Rivera, who recorded the conflict, told Miami's WPLG on Tuesday.

In a Wednesday interview on ABC's "Good Morning America," Rivera said that that flight attendants were "very professional" and that Berry had been a "danger" to other passengers and potentially himself.

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Berry was arrested on Saturday at Florida's Miami International Airport and charged with three counts of misdemeanor battery.

Berry was free on a $1,500 bond. Online court records didn’t list an attorney for him.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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