DECEMBER 9, 2021
A passenger aboard a flight to Dulles International Airport had an outburst as the crew was preparing to land, prosecutors said.
The latest scare in the air happened aboard an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Dublin to Dulles earlier this week.
Elias Fethamlk is accused of verbally and physically confronting a flight attendant aboard the plane just as it was making its descent.
According to an FBI affidavit, Fethamlk approached the flight attendant and asked for both white and red wine. Fethamlk then tried to take a picture of the flight attendant, grabbed her by the arms and pushed her up against the cabin door, the affidavit says.
The pilot had to intervene.
Fethamlk has not yet entered a plea in his case. No attorney is listed for him, so he hasn’t been reached for comment.
The case is part of a rapidly growing number of air rage investigations across the nation this year. A recent News4 I-Team report found case numbers have exploded with more than 5,400 reviews this year alone.
The head of the Association of Flight Attendants says many of the incidents are fueled by passengers who’ve consumed alcohol.
“People do things and make decisions that they wouldn’t otherwise,” Sara Nelson said. “And they’re also not aware that at 8,000 feet, pressurization in the cabin, that has an additional effect on you if you’re also drinking alcohol.”
She says disputes over face masks also are leading to the increase in air rage disputes.