Belfast Telegraph

Belfast flight delayed after rugby player accused of 'sexual harassment'

The passenger with police after being escorted off the plane.
The passenger with police after being escorted off the plane.
Easyjet plane at Bristol airport. [File photo]
The passenger being escorted off the plane.
The passenger with police after being escorted off the plane.
The passenger being escorted off the plane.

By Alessio Perrone

A rugby player was taken off a plane after delaying it for over 90 minutes for engaging in anti-social behaviour and allegedly sexually harassing a female crew member.

The Belfast-bound easyJet flight was originally due to take off from Bristol Airport at 12.55pm on Friday but was delayed after a group of rugby players caused chaos.

Travellers said they were “intimidated” and “sickened” by a “raucous” rugby group aboard the plane – one of whom was escorted off the plane by cabin crew.

The police were not involved.

“While we may have been there to provide support, we did not specifically get involved and no one was arrested,” said a spokesperson for Avon and Somerset Constabulary.

The incident occurred when the plane was taxiing to take off after cabin crew had done the safety demo.

“One of the men got out of his seat, when we were all supposed to have our seatbelts on, and walked down the aisle towards two female members of staff,” said a passenger.

“I couldn’t hear what he said to them, but one of the women said, ‘I am treating this as sexual harassment’.”

Passenger Rachel Davies said: “It was a group of about 20-30 men, aged in their 40s and 50s.

“Some of them had definitely had a few drinks.”

Another passenger said: “What sickened me most was that, after we got off the flight, as we were waiting for the carousel to get our bags, all the other men in the group burst into laughter.”

A spokesperson for Bristol Airport said: “Any anti-social behaviour by a passenger is not accepted by the airport or airlines, and could result in passengers being refused travel.

“Disruptive behaviour on-board an aircraft is illegal and the worst cases can result in fines, travel bans and custodial sentences.“

An easyJet spokesperson apologised for any inconvenience caused.

”easyJet's cabin crew are trained to assess and evaluate all situations and to act quickly and appropriately, to ensure that the safety of the flight and other passengers is not compromised at any time.

“Whilst such incidents are rare we take them very seriously, do not tolerate abusive or threatening behaviour onboard.

”We would like to apologise to passengers for the delay and thank them for their understanding.”

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