In Air Rage, aviation expert witness Capt. Bob Norris writes:
A recent issue of a major air carrier’s employee publication noted an almost 200-percent increase between 1994 and 1995 in reports filed with the company by flight attendants describing interference from passengers. The interference included assaulting, threatening, or intimidating crewmembers performing their inflight duties. During this same period, the number of physical assaults experienced by flight attendants at this carrier increased threefold.
An assaults is an action taken toward an individual that creates the threat of bodily harm, the fear of physical injury or that involves actual physical contact of a threatening nature. Abusive or suggestive language, which does not create the threat of violence or harm, even though it may be offensive, is not considered assault. The flight attendant who has been assaulted will have to file the complaint.
Unfortunately in the past, many airlines were not too supportive of flight crewmembers encounters with disruptive passengers, however, the airlines have finally recognized that workplace assaults on employees is unacceptable and will assist in providing medical as well as legal assistance during any criminal proceedings.