New York-to-Orange County flight diverted after passenger assaults flight attendant

American Airlines jets
American Airlines jets sit at their gates at the international airport in Phoenix.
(Matt York / Associated Press)

An American Airlines flight from New York to California was diverted to Denver after a passenger assaulted a flight attendant, authorities said.

Flight 976 was heading Wednesday from John F. Kennedy International Airport to John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana when it landed at Denver International Airport and taxied safely to the gate.

The passenger was removed, the airline said, and the flight continued on to California. The flight attendant was reportedly taken to a hospital, but details of her condition weren’t immediately released.


“We are outraged by the reports of what took place on board. Acts of violence against our team members are not tolerated by American Airlines,” the company said in a statement.

I asked him to mask up and enlisted a flight attendant, but I settled for 11 hours next to a nitwit rule-breaking anti-masker.

Oct. 8, 2021

The passenger will be banned from American Airlines flights, the airline said, but “we will not be satisfied until he has been prosecuted to the full extent of the law. This behavior must stop.”

The assault comes amid a surge in unruly airline passengers this year, who sometimes become violent.

Law enforcement was investigating the assault, and the Federal Aviation Administration said it would investigate as well.