Watch CBS News

Camera captures brawl on Southwest Airlines flight from Oakland to Kauai

Caught on camera: Brawl erupts on Southwest flight from Oakland to Kauai
Caught on camera: Brawl erupts on Southwest flight from Oakland to Kauai 02:00

OAKLAND – A wild brawl caught on camera erupted on board a Southwest Airlines flight headed from the Bay Area to Hawaii on Monday.

The jet bound for Kauai had been in the air for about an hour after departing from the Oakland International Airport when the fists started flying.

Video initially shows two men already in the midst of a confrontation when one of the man slaps at the other man, who proceeds to punch the first man repeatedly until other passengers and a flight attendant intervene.

The brawl has also prompted an FAA investigation.

Monday's incident is just the latest in a series of mid-air incidents sparking safety concerns.

The Federal Aviation Administration said in the last 10 years, it has initiated more than one-thousand enforcement actions against unruly passengers.

Some flight attendants said they're surprised it happened on a route to Kauai.

"You know, that's really sad, because they are coming to Hawaii. Why would they be fighting?" asked a flight attendant, who declined to give her name. "I've been flying 45 years, and, no, it was not like this. Probably the worst thing that happened a couple years ago was a passenger taking some peanuts."

The Department of Transportation posted about the incident on X -- formerly known as Twitter -- saying, "Our department has zero tolerance for violent or unruly behavior aboard an aircraft. If you act out on an airplane, you can face criminal prosecution and fines up to $37,000."

But some are coming to the defense of the man who appeared to be throwing many of the punches in the video.

His son told the Instagram page meanhawaii that there was confrontation between his parents and an alleged drunk passenger who refused requests to stop bothering his mom.

"I understand if he was defending his wife. That's a human quality," said flight attendant Via Mendoza. "But, you know, we got to be adults."

Aviation expert Peter Forman said, regardless of the situation, there is no tolerance for violence in the air.

"It's just too dangerous a place to have punches being thrown," said Forman. "And keep in mind that there's a lot of money involved in turning a plane around. There's tens of thousands of dollars' worth of fuel. Plus the airplane falls behind schedule. It's going to take maybe a day for that plane to get back on schedule. There's a lot of disruptions to a lot of travelers, missed connections and things, so it's a big deal."

In the meantime, the FAA says it is aware of the incident and looking into whether passengers involved will face fines or other enforcement actions. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.