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Bodycam footage shows intoxicated passengers at Tampa International Airport

by Marko Florentino
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Bodycam footage from Tampa International Airport reveals how airline staff have to deal with unruly and intoxicated passengers.

In the footage obtained by WFLA, viewers are given a glimpse into what Tampa airport workers, and airport staff across the country, have to deal with when a passenger may get a little too intoxicated before boarding a flight.

In one clip, one man, who officers believe is intoxicated, is being asked to leave the airport.

Then the clip jumps to officers holding the man by the arm, asking him to walk and saying, “We’re trying not to put you in jail; we are trying to get you out of here.”

“You’re intoxicated; they won’t let you board,” the officer explained to the passenger, at one point also asking him to put his shoe back on.

The passenger seems not to understand that he is being asked to leave and says to the officers, “I’m good here,” to which one replies, “No, you’re not”.

At that point, they handcuff him. “Are you kidding me?” the passenger asks, to which the officer responds, “No”.

In another bodycam footage clip, officers are heard telling a woman, who is with a man, that she is not going to be let onto the aircraft.

“That’s not fair. I know my rights,” the woman replies.

“Arrest me right now then because you know what? I know my f***ing rights,” she said, starting to shout at the airport workers. “Nobody’s intoxicated.”

Eventually, after she repeats multiple times to arrest her, officers move in to put cuffs on the woman, who then asks, “How am I under arrest?”

In 2023, the FAA said they received 2,075 reports of unruly passengers, and as of 25 February 2024, there have been 286 reports so far this year.

However, the rate of unruly passenger incidents has dropped by over 80 per cent since record-high numbers in early 2021, a year that saw 5,973 reports.

The reason why there is very little tolerance for intoxicated passengers is because, retired pilot John Cox told WFLA, they can become a safety hazard to themselves or others.

While not all unruly passengers are necessarily intoxicated, any form of disorderly behaviour could put the entire flight at risk.

Some incidents that occurred in 2023 included assaulting passengers and flight attendants and even trying to open the aircraft door.

Unruly passengers can receive penalties of up to $37,000 per violation and could also face jail time or travel restrictions in the future.

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