South Carolina man arrested at airport following fight on Delta flight

Curtis Clayton got into an argument with the man seated behind him who was putting something in his seatback pocket during the flight which escalated into a physical fight.

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

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Curtis Clayton got into an argument with the man seated behind him who was putting something in his seatback pocket during the flight which escalated into a physical fight.

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

A South Carolina man was arrested Friday morning at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport after police said he started a fight on a Delta airplane then damaged a police car after he was taken into custody.

Curtis Maurice Clayton, 30, of Greenville, South Carolina, was booked into the Clayton County Jail on charges of battery and interference with government property, Atlanta police said in a news release. The charges against Clayton add another data point to the trend of disorderly passengers disrupting flights.

Earlier this week, an American Airlines flight was diverted when authorities said a passenger assaulted a flight attendant during a flight from New York to California, the AP reported. A man hit the flight attendant in the face, causing the plane to land in Denver where the passenger was removed and the flight attendant was taken to the hospital.

ExplorePlane diverted after passenger reportedly assaults flight attendant

In a statement, American Airlines said the man would be permanently banned from the company’s flights and that “we will not be satisfied until he has been prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

“This behavior must stop,” the company’s statement said.

In Clayton’s case, Atlanta police said he became angry when the man in the seat behind put something in the pocket on his seatback during the flight. Clayton argued with the man, which escalated into a physical fight between the two. Clayton was restrained by another passenger, and Atlanta police were called to the gate when the Delta flight landed.

Atlanta police said Clayton was “uncooperative” when officers met him at the gate and that he damaged a police vehicle during their investigation. The damage resulted in Clayton’s second charge, police said.

Clayton remains in the Clayton County Jail; his bond has not been set.