They said the women refused, one of them hit the security officer in the head with his two-way radio, another punched the gate agent in the face when the agent tried to intervene, and the third stepped on the security officer's face as all three kicked and hit him after he fell to the floor. The flight crew eventually pulled him behind some jet bridge doors and held them shut as the women lashed out at the crew, according to prosecutors.
The gate agent and the security officer were taken to a hospital and haven't returned to work.
“The extreme and aggressive behavior in connection with our air travel is out of control," Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement.
Delta Air Lines Inc. said it would work with authorities to make sure “this unacceptable conduct is held to account.”
“Nothing is more important than the safety of our employees and customers, and we have zero tolerance for physical violence on our airports and on our planes,” the Atlanta-based airline said in a statement.
Airlines reported more than 5,000 episodes involving unruly passengers last year, including over 3,600 cases of people allegedly refusing to wear face masks as required.
Airlines and their worker unions have been pushing authorities to be more aggressive about criminal prosecution in severe cases of air rage.