Travel

Air-rager tears TV out of airplane seat, forces emergency U-turn

There's plenty to whine about when it comes to in-flight movie choices. If it weren't for captive airplane audiences, pretty much no one would have seen "Just Wright". But one rage-riddled man on an Etihad Airways flight took his disdain for crappy entertainment a step further on Saturday, when he blew a fuse and tore the TV from the seat in front of him, forcing the plane into an emergency U-turn.

Approximately 40 minutes into Flight 470 from Singapore to Brisbane, the passenger, who appeared to be in his 30s and intoxicated, allegedly tore the TV screen from the seat in front of him, much to the alarm of surrounding passengers.

"He assaulted one of the male flight attendants and then guys on the plane just pinned him down and held him down and restrained him", passenger Tracey Mewis told ABC News. "We thought he was just off his face - he hassled two lots of couples".

One of the good samaritans, Rob Meitach, said the air-rager even bit him on the arm.

"I don’t know what was going on with him", Meitach said. "Maybe a bit of substance abuse, he was clearly drunk".

According to others on board, the man had acted suspiciously before the flight. Passenger Billy Bruce told ABC News she complained about him at the airport. "They pulled him aside before he got on the plane, but he shouldn't have been on that plane", she said.  

A spokesperson for the airline said the passenger was held by authorities on returning to Singapore. 

"Etihad Airways takes such incidents seriously and has a zero tolerance policy towards disruptive behavior in-flight", he added, apologizing for the delay.

After its impromptu intermission, the flight eventually landed in Brisbane without further interruption.


Chloe Pantazi is an editorial assistant on Thrillist's travel team. Yes, that’s a British accent. No, she doesn’t watch Doctor Who. Follow her on Twitter at @ChloePantazi.