Hawaiian Airlines diverted 2 flights in less than 12 hours after one passenger assaulted a flight attendant and another refused to wear a mask

Flight attendant
  • Two Hawaiian Airlines flights were diverted Thursday over disturbances from unruly passengers.
  • One of the flyers assaulted a flight attendant walking down the aisle in an “unprovoked incident.”
  • The unruly passenger on the other flight refused to wear a mask.
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Hawaiian Airlines diverted two flights in under 12 hours this week after unruly passengers onboard caused disturbances.

On Thursday morning, a flight from Honolulu to Hilo was forced to return to the airport after “a passenger assaulted one of our flight attendants, who was walking the aisle, in an unprovoked incident,” a company spokesperson told The Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

The passenger, a 32-year-old man, was arrested for third-degree assault when he deplaned, a spokesperson for Hawaii’s Department of Public Safety told the Associated Press. The FBI is investigating the incident, an agency spokesperson told the AP.

The flight attendant, meanwhile, was “evaluated and released from work to rest,” Hawaiian Airlines told the Star-Advertiser.

Later on Thursday, another Hawaiian Airlines flight ran into trouble. On a flight from Honolulu to Seattle, a passenger refused to wear a mask and “caused a disturbance,” a company spokesperson told the Star-Advertiser. Flight attendants and an off-duty pilot de-escalated the situation, but the flight was diverted out of an abundance of caution. No one was injured.

The incidents come amid a spike in passenger disturbances onboard commercial flights. The FAA said this week that it has received more than 4,000 reports of unruly passengers so far this year, but only one has resulted in a person being criminally charged. That incident involved a Southwest Airlines passenger who was seen punching a flight attendant in the face in a viral video. Many flight attendants are dealing with burnout and adverse effects on their mental health due to the surge in passenger violence, as Insider’s Allana Akhtar reported.

Delta Airlines recently said it had banned 1,600 passengers and called on others in the industry to share their “no-fly” passenger lists as well.

Hawaiian Airlines did not respond to a request for comment.