The 22-year-old was intoxicated and reportedly came out of the bathroom shirtless after spilling a drink on his shirt.
Trigger warning: This story contains themes of sexual assault that some readers may find distressing
A 22-year-old Ohio man was arrested for sexually assaulting flight attendants in the air and even punching one of them. Maxwell Berry was duct-taped to his own seat by fellow passengers after he groped flight attendants and attacked them. The incident happened during a Frontier Airlines flight from Philadelphia to Miami. Berry was arrested on arrival at the Miami International Airport and charged with three counts of battery, reported NBC News. Miami-Dade County police confirmed that the passenger was intoxicated and added that the incident happened on a late-night Saturday flight. A video of him punching the flight attendant went viral. As fellow passengers laughed at the obnoxious man whining on the flight, he shouted that his parents were worth $2 million dollars. The entitled man kept shouting at fellow passengers before being duct-taped.
Frontier passenger allegedly touched 2 flight attendants breasts, then screamed his parents are worth $2 million, before punching a flight attendant. Frontier suspended the crew for duct taping the passenger to his seat as they landed in Miami. 22 yr old Max Berry is in custody. pic.twitter.com/4xS9Rwvafx— Sam Sweeney (@SweeneyABC) August 3, 2021
As per the police report, Berry consumed two alcoholic drinks, and finishing them, he brushed his cup against a flight attendant's buttocks. He was reprimanded by the flight attendant, who told him "don't touch me." He then ordered a third alcoholic beverage before spilling it on his shirt. He went to the bathroom to get changed but came out shirtless. He was informed by a flight attendant that he needed to put on his shirt and helped him get an extra shirt from his carry-on bag and handed it to him. He then walked around the flight for a good 15 minutes before sexually assaulting a second flight attendant, groping her breasts. She asked him to get away from her and sit down on his seat. He then walked towards the two flight attendants and put his arms around them, before groping them again.
They asked a third flight attendant to keep an eye on the 22-year-old, who asked Berry to stay in his seat. He responded by punching the attendant in the face, and other passengers immediately intervened. They held him down and used duct tape to "tape him down to the seat and tie him with a seatbelt extender for the remaining flight," read the report. A spokesperson for Frontier Airlines confirmed Berry was arrested at the airport after the plane had landed. The company had initially suspended the flight attendants for not restraining the passenger appropriately. The statement read: "Unfortunately, the proper policies for restraining a passenger were not followed. As a result, the flight attendants have been suspended pending further investigation. The largest flight attendant union called out the airline for not backing their staff and demanded they support the suspended crew.
Frontier then released a new statement, arguing that their first statement was rushed. "Frontier Airlines maintains the utmost value, respect, concern, and support for all of our flight attendants, including those who were assaulted on this flight," said the spokesperson. "We are supporting the needs of these team members and are working with law enforcement to fully support the prosecution of the passenger involved." They still refused to confirm if the flight attendants were initially suspended for violating policy. The company added that the staff who were sexually assaulted were placed on a paid leave pending an investigation, which is standard procedure in such cases.
Within hours of the largest flight attendant union demanding support for the suspended crew, Frontier is out with a new statement. Frontier says their first statement was rushed, but still will not say if the flight attendants were initially suspended for violating policy. pic.twitter.com/uTyvEWczda— Sam Sweeney (@SweeneyABC) August 3, 2021
Sara Nelson, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants – CWA, slammed the decision. “Management suspended the crew as a knee-jerk reaction to a short video clip that did not show the full incident," said Nelson, reported USA Today. "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,” said Nelson.
If you are being subjected to sexual assault, or know of anyone who is, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673)