A California man accused of striking an American Airlines flight attendant was charged with assault

American Airlines Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
An American Airlines Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. Carlos Yudica/Shutterstock.com
  • 20-year-old Brian Hsu has been charged with the assault of an American Airlines flight attendant.
  • Hsu is accused of striking a crewmember after she inadvertently bumped him when walking past mid-flight.
  • The defendant is in custody and is set to be arraigned in Denver at a later date.

California resident Brian Hsu, accused of striking an American Airlines flight attendant in the face, has been charged with assault.

On Monday, US prosecutors in Colorado charged 20-year-old Brian Hsu in the assault of a female flight attendant on a flight bound for Santa Ana, California, on October 27, which forced the plane to divert to Denver where Hsu was arrested.

Hsu is expected to appear in a Santa Ana court Monday afternoon ahead of his arraignment in Denver set for a later date, according to central California’s US district court. The defendant remains in federal custody and is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

In response to a request for comment, Hsu’s attorney referred Business Insider to a video American Airlines CEO Doug Parker posted to social media.

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on the charge.

American Airlines said Hsu “physically assaulted” the flight attendant during a flight, though authorities have not released details of the incident. American’s president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, Julie Hedrick, told The Washington Post that the flight attendant accidentally bumped the passenger when walking through the first-class cabin and apologized. However, Hsu confronted her and then punched her in the face, according to Hedrick.

The crewmember was sent to the hospital to treat her injuries and was later released, Hedrick told The Post. An American spokesperson confirmed to Insider that the flight attendant was treated at a local hospital, but, due to privacy concerns, could not comment further.

Unruly passenger violence has been at an all-time high since the pandemic, with nearly 5,000 reports received by the Federal Aviation Administration as of Monday. Of those, 3,580 were mask-related.

In a video posted to Instagram, American CEO Doug Parker addressed the mid-flight violence and emphasized Hsu should be “prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.”

“This type of behavior has to stop,” he said. “American Airlines will not tolerate airport or inflight misconduct of any kind, particularly towards crew members and our airport team.”

Update 11/1/2021: This story has been updated with a comment from Hsu’s attorney.