Business class passenger is HANDCUFFED after ‘attacking a crew member while drunk and drowsy from sleeping pills’ mid-flight
- A business class passenger has been handcuffed on an Air New Zealand flight
- Alleged altercation happened about one-third of the way into journey from LA
- Man appeared to be under the influence after drinking and taking sleeping pills
A business class passenger has been handcuffed after allegedly attacking a crew member on a flight from Los Angeles to Auckland.
The alleged altercation happened about one-third of the way into the 12-and-a-half hour Air New Zealand flight, which touched down about 6am on Saturday.
The man, a 50-year-old Norwegian, was taken from business class to the back of the Boeing 777, the New Zealand Herald reported.
He remained handcuffed and at the back of the economy section for the remainder of the flight.
The alleged altercation happened about one-third of the way into the 12-and-a-half hour Air New Zealand flight, which touched down about 6am on Saturday (stock image)
The man, who said he worked with UFC fighters, appeared to be under the influence of alcohol and sleeping pills as he was moved to the plane.
During the remainder of the flight, he would occasionally lash out with an angry tirade and shout the name of his travel companion, who remained in business.
The details of the incident are not confirmed but crew members were reportedly heard telling the man he ‘punched, slapped and kicked’ a flight attendant after being refused alcohol.
At one point, the man was allegedly heard talking to a crew member about mixing alcohol with medication.
By the time the plane landed, it’s understood the man was apologetic for his actions.
One passenger said the incident was ‘initially disconcerting’ but praised the staff for how they handled the man’s behaviour.
‘You see someone handcuffed on a flight and all sorts of fears flash through your mind. But once it seemed likely he was drunk or similar it quickly became an annoyance rather than a threat,’ the passenger said.
‘The crew handled it brilliantly, remaining calm and constructive, despite provocation and, it seems, an attack on one of their own.
‘It’s the first time I’ve seen anything like this in 30-odd years of fairly regular long-haul flights.’
An Air New Zealand spokesperson said police met Air New Zealand flight NZ5 on arrival after a passenger failed to comply with crew instructions and required restraint in flight.
The airline said they could not comment further on the passenger involved for privacy reasons.
A business class passenger has been handcuffed more than 10,000 metres up in the sky after allegedly attacking a crew member on a flight from Los Angeles to Auckland (stock image)
Air New Zealand’s General Manager Cabin Crew Leeanne Langridge said Air New Zealand would not tolerate poor behaviour towards airline staff or fellow travellers.
‘Unfortunately, we’ve seen an increase in verbal and physical abuse and poor attitudes towards our staff in the past year as more customers try to consume too much alcohol, and in some cases do so when on medication or in a state of extreme over tiredness,’ she said.
‘The impact of this on themselves, those they are travelling with, other customers and our staff can be quite concerning.
‘We want everyone flying with us to have a memorable travel experience – for the right reasons.
‘The safety of our crew and customers is paramount and Air New Zealand will issue offending customers with travel bans should customers fail to comply with crew instructions.’
A police spokesman confirmed a man had been taken into custody.