Air rage woman arrested after attack on crew

David Ward
Saturday May 20, 2000
The Guardian

A woman aged 26 was arrested yesterday after allegedly head-butting a member of the cabin crew on an overnight flight from Florida to Manchester during which she was handcuffed and locked in a toilet.

The disturbance on the Airtours A330 Airbus carrying 360 passengers was so serious that the pilot had to delay landing for half an hour until the woman was safely restrained.

He alerted police who arrested the woman, travelling with her two children, when the aircraft reached the terminal. Her two sons were met by their grandmother.

The incident began halfway through the flight from Orlando when staff intervened to stop the woman, from Withington, Manchester, smoking in a lavatory.

Airtours officials said she became aggressive and crew and passengers struggled to restrain her with plastic handcuffs.

She is then alleged to have head-butted a crew member, who was later taken to hospital, and to have scratched another. She was bundled into the lavatory but later broke free.

Chief Inspector Gill Mellor, of Manchester Airport police, said: "The actions of this passenger created a very dangerous situation for other passengers and crew.

"Initially, the aircraft was over the Atlantic and the captain had to decide whether to return to Orlando or continue with the flight.

"Then on approach to landing, a lot of passengers were out of their seats because of the woman's behaviour, and the captain was forced to abandon initial attempts to land."

A spokesman for Airtours said: "The passenger was warned when it was thought she was smoking in the downstairs lavatory. She became abusive and a restraint kit was used. It was after the restraints were put on her that she assaulted one of our female cabin staff."

© Copyright Guardian Media Group plc. 2000