Man used homophobic slur, assaulted flight attendant during Delta flight to Phoenix, investigators allege
PHOENIX - Investigators allege an Arizona man assaulted a flight attendant during a Delta flight to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.
According to court documents, FBI investigators accuse Christopher Alexander Morgan is accused of interfering with a flight crew member.
The incident happened onboard Delta flight 2908, which was flying from Phoenix from Atlanta on April 22.
Incident began prior to takeoff
According to investigators, Morgan was uncooperative prior to the flight taking off, and refused to comply with instructions from flight crews. During the flight, Morgan was offered a non-alcoholic beverage when he requested a second alcoholic drink, which angered him.
At this point, investigators said Morgan used profanity and a homophobic slur on the flight attendant, and threw a glass of ice at him. When that flight attendant went to the galley near the cockpit to inform the captain, via an airplane telephone, about the disruption, Morgan got out of his seat, grabbed the phone from the flight attendant, and hit him in the chest with it.
Another passenger, according to court documents, heard Morgan use another homophobic on the flight attendant, as well as seeing Morgan taking the airplane phone from the flight attendant, and throwing it at him.
Suspect interviewed by the FBI in Phoenix
Morgan was later interviewed by the FBI, after the plane landed in Phoenix.
"According to Morgan, he was traveling home to Arizona. Morgan said the flight attendant was homosexual and that this made him uncomfortable," read a portion of the court documents. "Morgan said that he is homophobic, and that it is possible he could have been intimidating to the flight attendants. He said that his homophobia may have caused his temper towards the flight attendant to escalate."
Morgan, according to investigators, admitted calling the flight attendant a homophobic term, but denied assaulting the flight attendant, and said he never touched a telephone.
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A spokesperson with Delta has issued a statement on the incident, which reads:
In February, officials with Delta requested that the U.S. Department of Justice put any person convicted of a disruption on board a flight to the national "no fly" list. The airline's CEO, Ed Bastian, said the rate of incidents on the airline has increased nearly 100% since 2019.
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"This action will help prevent future incidents and serve as a strong symbol of the consequences of not complying with crew member instructions on commercial aircraft," Bastian wrote in the letter furnished to The Associated Press by Delta Air Lines.
The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.