The Justice Department said that a California man who punched an American Airlines flight attendant on a flight from Mexico to Los Angeles was arrested this week.
The man was charged with interference with flight crew members, a day after he punched a flight attendant in the back of the head. Mr. Le could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.
The lawyer who is representing Mr. Le did not respond to a call on Thursday.
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants said in a statement that violent behavior puts the safety of all passengers and crew in jeopardy.
Air travelers and crews continue to face high number of disruptions since the start of the Pandemic. Unruliness on planes was the subject of 146 investigations in 2019. According to data from the FAA, there have been over 700 such investigations so far in the year 2022.
Much of the passenger behavior last year was related to mask enforcement. According to the F.A.A., there were over 6000 reports of unruly passengers last year.
The pace seems to have slowed this year, but it is still above normal levels. There have been over 2000 reports as of Tuesday. After a federal judge in Florida struck down the requirement for a mask on planes, the transportation security administration stopped enforcing it.
According to an affidavit from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the episode began when Mr. Le got up from his seat after the plane took off.
Mr. Le asked for coffee from the flight attendant. The flight attendant stepped back and put up a defensive posture after he grabbed both of her shoulders from behind.
Mr. Le sat in an empty row in the front of the plane after loitering near the first class cabin.
Mr. Le was approached by a different flight attendant who asked him to come back to his seat. Mr. Le closed both of his fists as he assumed a fighting stance. Mr. Le punched S.B.G. in the back of the head when he went to report the behavior to the pilot.
A passenger video shows people screaming at a man in an orange shirt who struck a flight attendant.
One passenger is yelling.
Mr. Le moved towards the back of the plane after hitting S.B.G. Several passengers caught Le near an exit row.
The Justice Department said that Mr. Le's hands and legs were cuffed. The flight attendants had to restrain him to his seat because he was unbuckling his seatbelt.
Mr. Le was met by law enforcement when he arrived in Los Angeles, according to a statement from American Airlines.
He said that the individual involved in the incident would not be allowed to travel with us in the future.