Tense moments as police in Cleveland remove airline passenger

CLEVELAND- The FOX 8 I-TEAM has obtained video of Cleveland Police boarding a plane that landed at Hopkins Airport Tuesday evening, and the incident puts a spotlight on bad behavior of air passengers.

The flight arrived from San Francisco. Passenger Bob Wilkinson says, shortly before landing, a flight attendant asked a chilling question on the intercom wondering if anyone on board was a law enforcement officer. Wilkinson told the I-TEAM, "I'm saying, wow, did I really hear that?’"

He added then there was an announcement about passengers staying in their seats after landing. Wilkinson said, "They were going to have the police come on, and they were going to remove a passenger. That was all they said."

Police soon came on board and arrested a woman. A report shows she “smelled of alcohol,” and had come out of the bathroom and “exhibited strange behavior.”

Of course, at the time, passengers didn’t know that, and they wondered about the worst case scenarios.

It led the I-TEAM to check on the numbers of unruly passengers. The Federal Aviation Administration says in 2004 it recorded 310 incidents. By 2013, the number had dropped by about half. And last year, the number was down to 103 cases.

Still, many air travelers say although the figures are going down, problem passengers are a common problem. Marla Knapit said, "They take too much on the plane. They're all over the place. Their kids aren't where they're supposed to be."

Airlines for America, an industry trade group, says airline employees rely on extensive training to handle disruptive passengers, and those workers support prosecution. Vaughn Jennings, spokesman for the group said in a statement, ”To put it in context, these incidents are extremely rare, in 2015 we had an all-time high in passengers volume while FAA data showed that we had an all-time low of incidents reported (103). In fact, we have seen an increase in the number of total passengers every year since 2012, while the number of incidents has dropped in each of those years.

In this case, it appears the woman arrested may not face any charges. A report shows police took her to a hospital.