Flight delay melee: Spirit passengers arrested after kicking and punching employees and tossing phones, food and shoes at them

Dawn Gilbertson and Jayme Deerwester, USA TODAY

Nobody likes flight delays but a trio of Spirit Airlines passengers had a violent reaction when their flight from Fort Lauderdale to Philadelphia was delayed late Tuesday.

Three female passengers from Philadelphia, all in their early 20s, started assaulting five Spirit employees at Gate G14, according to police reports from the Broward County Sheriff's Office.

"The defendants intentionally struck the victims against their will with miscellaneous items, such as phones, shoes, full water bottles, metal boarding signs and fast food,'' according to police reports from the Broward County Sheriff's Office. "The victims were also punched and kicked in different sections of their bodies numerous times by the listed defendants.''

The incident was captured on video, which was first reported by a Miami television station.

The Sheriff's Office arrested passengers Danaysha Dixon, 22; Keira Ferguson, 21; and Tamaya Wright, 20.  All three are being charged with battery, while Wright faces an additional charge of petty theft for taking one of the employees' cell phones and stashing it in her backpack. (It was retrieved.)

Spirit spokesman Erik Hofmeyer said the passengers became "combative'' following a delay on Flight 1004. It started when boarding was delayed and escalated when Spirit employes stopped boarding and shut the jet bridge door, he said.

The flight was delayed for about 80 minutes, according to flight tracker FlightAware

The employees suffered minor injuries and were "understandably shaken up,'' he said.

The airline praised the unnamed employees for their "professionalism'' and "quick actions.''

Hofmeyer added, "This violent behavior is completely unacceptable and has absolutely no place in airports or any other place of business. We will not tolerate abusive behavior of any kind.''

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Spirit Airlines passengers arrested for assaulting workers over delay

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