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Passenger accused of knocking Southwest employee unconscious faces new charge

Arielle Jackson already faced a charge of aggravated assault and a $10,000 bond connected to the Nov. 13 incident. Records show she now faces an additional charge.

DALLAS — A passenger accused of attacking a Southwest employee and knocking her unconscious faces a new charge and an increased bond amount, jail records show. 

Arielle Jackson, 32, already faced a charge of aggravated assault and a $10,000 bond connected to the Nov. 13 incident. Records show she now faces an additional assault charge that carries a $5,000 bond. The total bond amount, as of Nov. 18, is now $15,000, according to record. Jackson is still in jail.

Dallas police said Jackson had gone to the back of the plane during boarding of a flight to La Guardia airport from Dallas Love Field and had a "verbal altercation" with a flight attendant, who then asked Jackson to leave the plane. 

Jackson did so, but then had another "verbal altercation" with a Southwest Airlines operations agent. Police said Jackson hit that agent in the head with a fist, causing the agent to fall and hit her head on the plane, knocking her unconscious. Jackson also kicked the agent in her stomach, according to an affidavit. 

The employee was taken to the hospital for a laceration above her left eye, a knot on her head and soreness from the kicking, but she was released that same weekend. 

In a statement after the attack, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly called what happened an "ugly incident" and said it is "unacceptable." 

"Southwest Airlines maintains a zero-tolerance policy regarding any type of harassment or assault and fully support our Employee as we cooperate with local authorities regarding this unacceptable incident," a statement from Southwest Airlines read.

Experts say they have seen an increase in unruly passengers amid the COVID-19 pandemic and that it is a trend that needs to be addressed.

In 2021, there have been 5,114 unruly passenger reports and 3,710 of those were over masks, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA has launched more investigations into unruly passengers than the last seven years combined.