Man accused of touching, exposing himself on Southwest flight from Seattle to Phoenix

Southwest Airlines is celebrating its 52nd birthday with Wanna Get Away Day and a variety of...
Southwest Airlines is celebrating its 52nd birthday with Wanna Get Away Day and a variety of deals this week.(Stephen Keller | Southwest Airlines)
Published: Apr. 4, 2022 at 6:02 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — A man is in trouble with the law after investigators said he touched himself and exposed himself to the woman sitting next to him on a flight to Phoenix. On Saturday, shortly after takeoff from Seattle onboard Southwest Flight 3814, Antonio Sherrodd McGarity pulled down his pants, exposed himself and touched himself, federal agents said. He touched himself four different times during the flight, the FBI said. When he fell asleep, the woman sitting next to him, who saw it all, got up and told the flight crew about what happened, according to federal documents.

When the flight landed in Phoenix, agents interviewed McGarity and he admitted to what happened, the FBI said. According to court records, he didn’t think what he was doing made the woman next to him uncomfortable.

“I don’t tolerate that behavior. I believe they should have been arrested,” Ronald Shea, a passenger said.

A flight attendant who’s worked for Southwest Airlines for 30+ years said she wasn’t surprised. “People are more aggressive and I don’t understand why that is. But they are, they’re just more impatient, more grumpy,” she explained.

She declined to give her name because she could be fired for talking with us. “I don’t enjoy it as much as I use to. It used to be better. It’s harder work and it’s tricky at times,” she said.

Southwest Airlines responded to our request for comment with the following statement:

On April 2, crewmembers received a report of inappropriate behavior during a flight from Seattle to Phoenix. Upon learning of the event, the crew immediately responded to the incident and re-seated the reporting passenger for the remainder of the flight. The captain also requested that law enforcement meet the aircraft upon arrival. We immediately placed the passenger who exhibited the lewd behavior on our No-Fly List, resulting in a lifetime ban from traveling on Southwest Airlines.

Arizona’s Family also reached out to the FAA for data. They said as of March 28, 2022, they’ve received 1,035 reports of unruly passengers, 668 related to masks. In 2021, there was a record high for that. There were 5,981 reports of troublesome passengers, 4,290 related to masks.

McGarity faces felony charges for violating obscenity laws, detectives said. He faces up to 90 days in prison and a $500 fine.