Angry passenger punches United employee on flight from San Francisco to Houston, video shows

ByPooja Lodhia KTRK logo
Tuesday, May 2, 2023
Man punches United employee on flight to Houston, video shows
An angry passenger was caught on camera trying to punch a United Airlines employee while boarding a flight from San Francisco to Houston.

SAN FRANCISCO -- An angry passenger on a United Airlines flight had to be restrained by other passengers after he appeared to punch a flight attendant multiple times.

Naya Jimenez shot a video before her flight took off from San Francisco to Houston just after midnight on May 1.

She told Eyewitness News that the passenger was angry because she asked his wife, and then him, to move out of her assigned seat.

"They had to bring in a gate attendant to try to talk to both of them," she said. "Then, he began slurring his speech a little bit, like, 'Sir, why are you smiling at me?' That's the first thing he said."

That was after the man nearly jumped out of the plane, according to Jimenez.

"After he paused for a minute, he ran toward where the pilot was, where the emergency exit doors are, and attempted to open it. (He) successfully opened the emergency exit and was about to jump down," she explained, "The plane is elevated, so he would have jumped apparently two stories to the ground, and the flight attendants just kicked in, and everybody pulled him back to safety."

United Airlines sent Eyewitness News the following statement:

"On Sunday night, our team at San Francisco International Airport immediately contacted law enforcement officials after a customer became disruptive during boarding. We're grateful to our team in San Francisco for their professionalism in this situation and for looking out for the safety of our customers and their fellow United employees."

In an update, San Francisco police told Eyewitness News on Tuesday that 47-year-old Cody Benjamin Lovins of Montgomery, Texas, was arrested, cited, and released for battery.

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