A drunken fracas broke out on a Thomas Cook flight from Glasgow to Turkey after a Scotsman was said to have drunk an entire bottle of vodka and gone berserk.
The Thomas Cook aircraft was diverted to Gatwick Airport, where a squad of police boarded the aircraft and arrested a 34-year-old man. He was held on suspicion of being drunk on an aircraft, Britain’s Daily Mirror reported.
A passenger filmed a brief video clip, somewhat indistinct, which shows a man being carted off by police, apparently wrapped in a blanket or straitjacket and being moved horizontally down the steps towards the airport. It can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpTN5MAXOYs
“Aye, they’re actually carrying him head-first down,” a female passenger can be heard commenting, as the police depart carting the man they have arrested.
A spokesman for Gatwick Airport said: “We can confirm a flight from Glasgow to Dalaman [in Turkey] was diverted and landed at Gatwick at 11.15am.”
Meanwhile, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) continues to urge governments and industry to devise measures to effectively deter and manage “the significant problem of unruly air passenger behaviour”.
“Such behaviour includes committing physical assault, disturbing good order on board or failing to follow lawful crew instructions,” IATA said.
“Everybody on board is entitled to enjoy a journey free from abusive or other unacceptable behaviour.”
The definition of unruly behaviour is wide and includes non-compliance with crew instructions, consumption of illegal narcotics, sexual harassment, and physical or verbal confrontation or threats.
In 2013, the number of incidents of unruly behaviour voluntarily reported to IATA by airlines reached some 8000 cases. The 2014 total is believed to exceed that.
Intoxication, often resulting from alcohol already consumed before boarding, ranks high among factors linked to these incidents.
Written by Peter Needham