Drunk FlyBe plane passenger arrested on board
A drunken passenger on a Belfast-bound flight was arrested and removed by police after the cabin crew became alarmed at his behaviour.
The dramatic incident happened on a Flybe Glasgow to Belfast flight at the weekend. Dozens of Northern Ireland passengers watched as the man was held in a headlock and handcuffed.
The incident began just before the scheduled take-off of Flight BE132 at 7.35pm on Saturday.
A passenger told the Belfast Telegraph: "I was sitting at the front of the plane when a man staggered on drunk. An air hostess said 'Please stop, sir' but he completely blanked her and just kept on walking."
She said it again but he paid no attention. He proceeded on down the aisle and took his seat near the back of the plane.
"The air hostess said to the pilot, 'I'm not happy with this. If he ignores me now, he'll ignore me if there's an emergency on the flight. I think he could be a danger to the safety of other passengers on the plane.'"
The passenger said that the Flybe cabin crew then spoke to staff in Glasgow Airport: "A man in a yellow jacket came on board the plane. He went down to talk to the man in his seat, but the man refused to co-operate.
"At this stage, they contacted the airport police. They were there in about five minutes. They were wearing bulletproof jackets. The man was asked to leave the plane voluntarily but he refused, so the police went to arrest him.
"The man was struggling a wee bit at the beginning but the officers were soon in control. They held him in a headlock and handcuffed him. He was then marched off the plane." The passenger said that the incident may have been disconcerting for some children on the plane but praised the behaviour of the Flybe crew. "They did a great job, they couldn't have handled it better," he said.
"They thought this man could represent a danger to the flight's safety and they didn't ignore that, they took swift action to rectify the situation. There was a delay of around 30 minutes to the flight taking off but nobody minded that."
A spokeswoman for the airline said: "Flybe has a zero tolerance policy with any form of onboard behaviour that might compromise the safe operation of a flight. We can confirm that on September 19, the captain of flight BE132 from Glasgow to Belfast City reported such an incident to police prior to take-off. The police then took the necessary immediate action and removed the individual in question from the aircraft."
She added: "Flybe would like to apologise to its passengers for any inconvenience caused by the resulting minor delay."
Last month, a passenger on an Easyjet plane at Glasgow airport was Tasered by police shortly before the plane was due to take off for Belfast. The incident happened following a dispute over hand luggage.
Police boarded the flight after the cabin crew told them that the passenger was behaving disruptively.