Frontier Airlines says passenger hit flight attendant with intercom phone

Frontier flight was headed from Denver to Tampa, Florida

A "belligerent" passenger on a Frontier Airlines flight was arrested over the weekend after allegedly striking a flight attendant with an intercom phone, the airline said in a statement.

The airline told FOX Business that Flight 708 was waiting to depart to Tampa, Florida, early Sunday morning when a passenger, later identified by Denver police as Shuri Turner, "became belligerent onboard." 

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Turner was asked to leave the plane. The airline said Turner "picked up an intercom phone and struck a flight attendant with it." Frontier did not offer details on what led up to the passenger's removal. 

Officers with the Denver Police Department were called around 3:55 a.m. Sunday to handle a "disturbance that occurred" on a Frontier flight.

Frontier Airlines plane lands in Las Vegas

A Frontier Airlines plane lands at the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas on Feb. 27, 2020. (Elizabeth Page Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Tribune News Service via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Turner was cited with assault and released. Officers assisted Turner with booking another flight.

The incident comes just weeks after a passenger on a separate Frontier Airlines flight was "voted" off the plane by fellow travelers after a verbal altercation broke out before the aircraft took off.

In January 2021, former FAA Administrator Steve Dickson signed an order imposing a stricter legal enforcement policy against unruly airline passengers after seeing an uptick in "troubling incidents." 

Under its zero-tolerance policy, passengers who disrupt a flight are at risk of facing "substantial" repercussions, according to the FAA. 

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The rate of unruly passenger incidents has dropped dramatically since 2021, when there were nearly 6,000 reports of unruly behavior. So far in 2023, there have only been 670 reported incidents. 

In April, the FAA announced that it referred more than 250 of the most severe cases to the FBI for criminal prosecution review since late 2021.