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Flight attendant loses 2 teeth in assault by passenger; unruly passengers reach 'intolerable level'

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Posted at 3:54 PM, May 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-25 16:54:01-04

DALLAS (AP) — A Southwest Airlines flight attendant lost two teeth when she was attacked by a passenger this weekend, and the president of her union calls it part of a disturbing increase in unruly passengers.

The president of the Southwest flight attendants’ union, Lyn Montgomery, said Tuesday that she wants more air marshals and a tougher stance against disruptive passengers.

"Unfortunately, this is just one of many occurrences. I write to you today because we cannot tolerate our beloved cohearts being abused in such a manner, and because I am asking for your help and leadership in ending these travesties," reads the letter from Montgomery to Southwest's CEO. The term "coheart" is used by Southwest staff to refer to coworkers.

The attack happened Sunday after a flight from Sacramento landed in San Diego.

Southwest says the passenger was taken into custody.

The Federal Aviation Administration says airlines have reported about 2,500 cases of unruly passengers this year.

"This unprecedented number of incidents has reached an intolerable level, with passenger noncompliance events also becoming more aggressive in nature,'' Montgomery said.

Montgomery says there were 477 passenger-misconduct incidents on Southwest between April 8 and May 15 alone.