A passenger who became unruly while on board an American Airlines jet bound for Chicago this week evidently couldn’t decide if she had affection – or an aversion – for the flight attendants overseeing her travel. Therefore, she decided to display equal parts of her dithering emotions, first kissing, and then punching one of the crew members who attempted to intervene over a seat incident.
Writes local news channel ABC7 on Sept. 15: “Daniela Velez-Reyes, 25, of Chicago, is facing several charges after allegedly kissing and then punching a flight attendant on an American Airlines flight. Flight 1284 from Miami to Chicago was diverted to Indianapolis on Monday afternoon after Velez-Reyes became unruly. The plane was over the Indiana/Kentucky border when the pilot decided to land early.”
According to police, Velez-Reyes started kicking the back of the seat of the passenger in front of her. When he turned to give her the knock-it-off look, she walloped him. A flight attendant who witnessed the attack then came over, and Velez-Reyes planted a wet one on her, and then socked her in the face.
Passengers said the unruly passenger was creating trouble throughout the flight.
“She was disoriented through the entire flight, not being able to find her seat, walking back and forth,” said Marian Frendt. “And when she came to the back, she was sweating profusely. Then she started kicking the seat of the passenger in front of her, and he apparently turned around to complain… And she hit him.”
Added passenger Jim Saviano: “You could hear someone screaming expletives in the back repeatedly.” After the flight attendant came over, Saviano said Velez-Reyes “was really calm. She was talking about her boyfriend. And then, all of a sudden, she grabbed her by the face, kissed her and then punched her in the face.”
Saviano said the pilot, made aware of the situation, came on the intercom and issued an unusual call for action – asking the “large men” on board to please intervene. “He said I need large passengers to restrain another passenger. So when I hear ‘large passenger,’ I’m thinking something big is going down.”
A number of passengers did respond, and Velez-Reyes was subdued. Video shows her being escorted and yelling – screaming out “Call my mom!” – as police bring her through the plane, in handcuffs.
Adds the Chicago Sun-Times: “The passenger was removed from the plane and taken into the custody of the Indianapolis Airport Police. The Boeing 737 had 160 passengers and six crew members on board at the time.”
It’s unclear what caused Velez-Reyes to act that way, but police said she appeared either drunk or under the influence of some sort of drugs or mental disorder. While in custody, she started kicking the officers.
According to ABC, the unruly passenger has been charged with felony counts of disrupting the operation of an aircraft, battery against a public safety officer and disorderly conduct, as well as misdemeanor counts of battery, resisting law enforcement and criminal recklessness.