A Cincinnati Bengals fan can longer fly on Frontier Airlines after he allegedly got into a confrontation with another passenger regarding his team and lunged at a Frontier employee before being put in a chokehold prior to take-off.
The incident occurred Wednesday night at the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport in Ohio, WJW reports. Witnesses said that while waiting for their departure to Phoenix, the unruly fan and another male passenger argued over the Bengals, who play in the Super Bowl on Sunday. An airline employee spoke to the two and told one of them that he had too much to drink. Per witnesses, it seemed the man was being removed from the flight when he allegedly sprang toward an employee.
Another passenger quickly placed the aggressor in a chokehold, video shows, while a friend of the Bengals fan yelled for the man to let him go, according to WJW. The man then released the unruly passenger as the friend tried to gain control of his pal, saying, “Tyler! C’mon, C’mon. Let’s go.”
“I was a Bengals fan, I was the only Bengals fan,” the unruly passenger said seconds later, according to WJW. “I’m not a bad person, bro, I drank a little too much, and one guy back there had a problem that I was drinking too much.”
Jason Blake, the passenger who recorded the video, spoke to WJW regarding the incident.
“Before I had actually recorded, he said that they were discriminating against him because he possibly did have too much to drink,” Blake recalled.
He noted that the Bengals fan who was allegedly drunk is to blame for the ordeal but said the passenger who put him in a chokehold seemed to exacerbate the situation.
When I watched that, I was like, ‘OK, this guy is assaulting somebody that they’re trying to remove from the plane.’ The guy is not qualified is handle that situation and it could have made it worse, and you’ve got all these people that are stuck there and there’s going to be a stampede to try to get out of a little small door.
The passenger was removed from the airline, though he was the topic of conversation for much of the flight, according to Blake:
The captain and the crew did make the comment that ‘This is why you do not buy your own alcohol and you drink it on board because this will happen,’ and they said basically, ‘We hope that he won’t be on any future flights with us.’ People have to make the wise decision. I mean, alcohol and flying just really don’t mix.
Charges against the man are pending, and the Cleveland Division of Police have the video of the ordeal, WJW reports.
Frontier Airlines released a statement regarding the incident stating the man was behaving “disruptively” and became “increasingly aggressive, physically assaulting the gate agent.”
“The passenger was subsequently arrested by local enforcement and has been permanently placed on our Prevent Departure list,” the statement says.
The disruptive passenger’s identity is not clear.