“Caught on Camera: A fight over whether or not to wear a mask onboard a Spirit Airlines plane that had just arrived in Puerto Rico led to a woman – who police say was the aggressor – being tased by police who are considering filing charges,” wrote CBS News reporter David Begnaud, who shared the video on Twitter.
You can watch the video below.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Brawl Spilled Into the Aisle of the Airplane
The fight video shows multiple people brawling in the aisle of the plane, with several airline workers in the midst of it. It was posted by V. Torres Montalvo on October 26.
Some people could be seen wearing masks in the video. One man laughed at the end of the video.
“According to Puerto Rico police, around 7pm yesterday, at the Luis Munoz Marin airport in San Juan, passenger Nyasy Veronique Payne ‘provoked an incident by acting in what witnesses called an agressive, hostile, & defiant behavior.’ She hit 28yo Javier Lopez Cruz, police say,” Begnaud wrote.
He added: “CBS News spoke with the man who filmed the video. He says the fight broke out because the woman refused to follow the airlines protocol to wear a mask. The flight originated in Newark, New Jersey according to police in Puerto Rico.”
Begnaud continued in the Twitter thread:
To be clear: the woman who threw the first punch is allegedly the same person who refused to wear a mask who then ended up being tased by police because of her belligerent behavior which is seen on video here. Not long after I posted this video, I spoke to Alfredo, a man who is seen in the video wearing a purple shirt. He is Puerto Rican. He said there’s more to the story. Alfredo says the woman seen on video throwing punches, was punched by 1 man before she punched anyone. Alfredo says during the flight, a young man was moving about the plane, switching seats and not wearing a mask. Flights attendants, according to Alfredo, instructed the man to stop switching seats & to wear his mask. The man didn’t stop. When the plane landed police were called. 3 women who Alfredo says appeared to be traveling with the young man were also not masks, most of the flight, & were moving around while the sets belt sign was on. The flights attendants – Alfredo says – asked the women to stay seated a wear a mask. One on the ground, Alfredo says 3 men began yelling homophobic & racial slurs at the 3 women who are black. 1 man, Alfredo says, hit one of the women, who then started punching. That’s the woman who’s seen on video throwing punches when the police make their way into the plane.
Other Spirit Airlines Brawl Videos Have Gone Viral
In May 2017, altercations broke out as customers grew frustrated by Spirit Airlines cancellations and long lines, according to ABC News.
Three arrests resulted after people stormed the check-in counter, according to Buzzfeed. A Spirit spokesman told Buzzfeed the delays were “a result of unlawful labor activity by some Spirit pilots designed to disrupt Spirit operations for our customers, by canceling multiple flights across our network.”
Also in 2017, loud music led to a wild brawl on a Spirit Airlines flight from Baltimore to Los Angeles. You can learn more about that incident here. “I’d be really afraid just because of all the security and all the issues going on right now. I would think that’s bigger than just girls fighting over music,” Shamaila Taj told CBS Los Angeles in an interview at LAX after that incident. “A plane is probably the last place you would want to do something like that. … I would freak out, more so than anything else, because there’s nowhere else you can go.”
Three Philadelphia women were accused of attacking Spirit Airlines employees at the Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport in Florida in yet another incident in July 2020. The scene went viral on social media.
A 20-year-old woman was accused of battery and petit theft for “taking a Spirit employee’s phone and putting it in her backpack,” according to The Associated Press. Two other women were accused of battery.
Arrest reports accuse the women of pelting the workers with “miscellaneous items, such as phones, shoes, full water bottles, metal boarding signs and fast food.” They further allege that the victims “were also punched and kicked in different sections of their bodies numerous times,” according to Local10. The television station said the women declined to comment but were trying to get back to their hometown of Philadelphia. Three airline employees were injured, Local10 reported.