A member of the crew ordered Armstrong to sit down and stay in his seat. He staggered backward and then invoked the current president.
“Joe Biden!” Armstrong said. “Really?”
Video showed Armstrong continue to protest before sitting in his aisle seat, holding his mask and baring his teeth while growling. He continued to growl while biting his mask and dragging it up and down over his face. Later, he is shown standing in the aisle again and appearing to tell the rest of the passengers that they were “all being used as pawns.”
The Salt Lake City Police Department said in a statement that it received information at 12:48 p.m. about an intoxicated passenger aboard the flight.
Police boarded the plane, took Armstrong into custody and escorted him off. Paramedics took him to a hospital. Armstrong could not immediately be reached for comment.
“Airline staff described the passenger … as being combative while on the flight,” a police department news release said.
The news release said officers cited Armstrong for public intoxication and disorderly conduct. He is no longer allowed to travel with American, pending the outcome of an investigation.
“We thank our crew for their professionalism and our customers for their understanding,” American said in a statement.
It was just the latest example of disruptive behavior by air travelers this year, as reports have soared to unprecedented numbers.
The Federal Aviation Administration has received 4,184 reports of unruly passenger behavior since the beginning of the year; of those, 3,057 involved mask compliance. The agency has started investigations in 752 cases and proposed penalties in 153 so far.