A US Airways flight scheduled to depart from Santa Barbara Airport yesterday afternoon was delayed after an unruly passenger swatted an attendant on the backside with his iPad.

Operations Manager Tracy Lincoln said airport patrol officers responded to a call of possible battery on a female flight attendant at 4:59 p.m. The incident occurred on the plane — headed for Phoenix and already delayed at the gate — as it made its way along the tarmac to the runway.

The attendant had twice asked the man to turn off his iPad in anticipation of takeoff. He refused both times. After the third request, he finally powered down the device, but when the attendant walked past the man, he smacked her on the rear with it. Alcohol may have been a factor in the incident, Lincoln said.

After speaking with both parties, officers escorted the 42-year-old man off the plane. The flight attendant has not decided if she will press charges or not, said Lincoln. The plane took off shortly after the man was removed, and the last Lincoln had heard, he was trying to book another flight to Phoenix.


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