Nearly an hour into the flight, a 23-year old man sitting in first class assaulted a Delta employee, and had to be restrained by fellow passengers, according to Sea-Tac Airport spokesman Perry Cooper.
Upon return to Washington, the Port of Seattle police immediately arrested the perpetrator. His name has not been released at this point.
Delta addressed the incident in a statement: “The passenger was restrained on board and was removed from the flight by law enforcement without further incident.”
In addition to the flight attendant, one other passenger suffered injuries that warranted a visit to the hospital after the plane landed in Seattle.
One passenger by the name of Dustin Jones recounted the events to KIRO-TV. Jones was seated close to first class, and was immediately aware of a confrontation between the passenger and flight attendant.
“One of the flight attendants ran back and said there was a Code 3. There was a serious fight up front,” said Jones.
Jones also noted that the man who instigated the incident was handcuffed and zip-tied by authorities, and taken through the airport terminal in a wheelchair. Jones described him as “belligerent.”
Airport officials who have corresponded with the FBI told the press that the Bureau has not labeled the altercation as a national security threat.
Delta flight 129 from Seattle to Beijing took off later that night.