American Airlines
Kentucky Man Arrested For Drunkenly Assaulting Flight Attendants Getty Images

A 50-year-old man from Canada has been handed a six-month sentence on Monday to be served at a US federal prison. Enio Socorro Zayas was sentenced in a Miami federal court after pleading guilty to assault in October.

According to The Globe and Mail, Zayas was on board an American Airlines flight bound to Miami International Airport on Aug. 6, 2021, when he groped the flight attendant who was serving refreshments at the time.

Court documents stated that Zayas was on a flight from Cancun, Mexico, and appeared to be asleep when a female flight crew member passed by his seat with the refreshment cart. The flight attendant placed the snacks package on Zayas’ lap not wanting to wake him up. But soon as she was about to turn away to tend to other passengers, Zayas suddenly reached around his side in an attempt to intentionally grab the woman on the back of her leg.

In an affidavit obtained by CNN, the woman felt a hand grip the bottom of her thigh as it moved upwards towards the lower portion of her buttocks. Zayas then began to rub her buttocks firmly from side to side. One passenger had corroborated the said events with law enforcement to support the complainant’s case.

Such incidents and cases are nothing new to the Federal Aviation Administration. Currently, there are nearly 6,000 reports of poor passenger behavior that have been plaguing numerous flights since the pandemic hit. Last year was recorded to be the worst in US airline history.

The FAA announced early last year their new “zero-tolerance” policy to reign in unruly passengers. Gone are warnings and counseling as violators are immediately and directly subjected to heavy penalties and fines as well as jail time.

Last November, US Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a directive to implement a tougher crackdown on rowdy airline passengers after hundreds of reports continued to pour in mostly due to passengers refusing to follow face-covering mandates on flights.

Pre-pandemic, the FAA has dealt with an average of 182 passenger behavior cases. In 2021 alone, the agency has conducted 1,081 investigations. By the last quarter of 2021, 37 out of 277 passenger behavior cases were referred to the FBI for criminal prosecution as the FAA has no authority to litigate criminal cases.

An American Airlines plane
An American Airlines plane is seen at sunrise on the tarmac of the Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) in Arlington, Virginia, on April 22, 2021. Photo by DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images