The family of Frantisha Lester spoke to Inside Edition on her behalf.
After footage of her being pushed by a passenger who allegedly had three Jack Daniels during the short flight from Lexington, Kentucky, to Charlotte, North Carolina, surfaced, the family came to her side.
The incident happened last month but the footage was released earlier this week. The captain of the plane tackled the unruly passenger Michael Kerr until police arrived.
Her mother, Deborah Reed, told Inside Edition that she “commends” and “appreciates” the captain for springing into action.
“I just want to tell him, ‘Thank you so much for protecting my daughter,” she added.
The family was wondered, however, why the fact that no one else on the plane, except the pilot and co-pilot, jumped in to help the flight attendant.
Her sister, Shemika Reed, told Inside Edition: "I am pretty sure there were male passengers on that flight that wouldn’t allow another male passenger that was intoxicated to handle a female like that.”
But the president of the International Flight Attendants Association, Sara Nelson, urged passengers not to interfere, telling Inside Edition: "They should wait for instructions from the flight attendants. That is how you will maintain a safe atmosphere. If the flight attendant asks for help, get up and help her.”
The 34-year-old chef from Kentucky faces charges of being intoxicated and disruptive, assault on a female, communicating threats and interfering with the duties of a flight crew attendant.
Nelson added: "Alcohol is the leading cause of disruptions on board the aircraft and conflicts and what leads to assault. Alcohol is a huge problem.”
Lester’s family told Inside Edition the incident was so upsetting for her, she has not yet returned to work.