MIAMI -- A man punched an American Airlines pilot who kicked him off a flight from Miami, and he and his brother then attacked the pilot again before bystanders tackled the brothers in the terminal, officials said Thursday.
Jonathan and Luis Baez, both of Las Piedras, Puerto Rico, were arrested at Miami International Airport. They had been aboard American Airlines Flight 1755 bound for San Francisco on Wednesday night, according to an arrest affidavit.
While the plane taxied away from the gate, a flight attendant noticed 27-year-old Jonathan Baez was sleeping and had not buckled his seat belt, police said. She tried to wake him, but she told police that Baez was unresponsive and appeared to be intoxicated or on drugs.
The pilot turned the plane around and returned to gate D51.
"As we always do with these things, we'd much rather deal with it on the ground than in the air," American Airlines spokesman Tim Smith said Thursday.
The pilot and flight attendant then woke up Baez and told him to get off the plane, police said.
"He was apparently barely compliant at that point," Smith said. "He was exhibiting symptoms of intoxication. He was not walking well when he went up the aisle."
Luis Baez, 29, decided to join his brother as he was being escorted off the plane. As the brothers walked toward the aircraft's exit door, they became belligerent, and Luis Baez told the pilot,"When you fly to San Juan I will have you killed," according to the arrest report.
The brothers walked off the plane, but then Jonathan Baez returned and punched the pilot in the face and hit the flight attendant in the shoulder when she tried to intervene, police said.
Both brothers attacked the pilot again in the jet bridge and chased him in the terminal, according to the arrest report.
Other flight crew members and passengers held down the brothers until police arrived.
"There was a scuffle that took place, so about three or four of us went out there and tackled the guys. There were two of them and I guess the pilot ended up with some contusions on his face.
So we just did what we needed to do to help out," Ken Venting of Scotts Valley, California, told KGO-TV in San Francisco.
The Miami-based pilot suffered cuts and bruises to his face and blurred vision, and he told police he was afraid Luis Baez would follow through on his death threat, according to the police report.
Another pilot filled in and flew the plane carrying 176 passengers and six crew members to San Francisco International Airport.
Jonathan Baez was held Thursday on $9,000 bond on charges of battery and aggravated battery. Luis Baez was held on $12,500 bond on charges of aggravated assault and aggravated battery.
Miami-Dade County jail records did not show if either brother was represented by an attorney.
"I think it's fair to say that both these gentlemen won't be flying with us again," Smith said.