'Absolutely terrifying': Flight forced to make priority landing after fight breaks out between passengers
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: A terrifying mid-flight altercation that required a Jetstar plane to make a priority landing on Tuesday night, October 11, has been caught on camera. The chaos reportedly unfolded just 24 minutes into the flight from Melbourne to Brisbane. A video taken inside the plane shows the wild moment punches were thrown before passengers tried to pull two fighting men apart.
One passenger described the event to 9 News Australia as "absolutely terrifying." The passenger recalled, “It was unnerving. There was a commotion, there was yelling, people started standing up, and it went on for a couple of minutes. One gentleman was then escorted to the rear of the aircraft, he had blood on his face … we didn’t hear anything else, we had no information.” One of the men involved in the fight allegedly displayed violent behavior prior to boarding, according to passengers.
"We didn't know what was happening. The guy was aggressive before he got on the plane and we thought surely they won't let him on the aircraft," the passenger explained. According to the passenger, the aircraft began to descend suddenly, and the captain made a priority landing. The two passengers were extricated from the jet by Australian Federal Police after the plane made a U-turn near Mansfield and returned to Melbourne airport. The JQ582 from Melbourne to Brisbane resumed flight once the men were ejected and arrived at its destination two hours after its original scheduled time.
A Jetstar spokesperson later said in a statement that the airline had "zero tolerance for disruptive and abusive behavior". "The safety of our passengers and our crew is always our first priority and we thank our customers for their patience," the spokesperson added. Later, the airline said the matter is now with Australian Federal Police. However, the police revealed that no arrests had been made in the incident so far. Meanwhile, according to AirHelp, Jetstar policy states that passengers are eligible for flight delay compensation if they are departing from an EU airport, and if they are delayed by more than 3 hours.
Depending on the length of the delay and the distance traveled, passengers can get up to US$700 in compensation. They are also entitled to receive care including free food, refreshments, and, during lengthier delays, a hotel room, as well as free transfers to and from the airport. However, not all Jetstar Airways flight delays are eligible for compensation. One notable exception is in cases known as extraordinary circumstances, which include bad weather; as well as health, safety, or security threats; airport personnel strikes, and political unrest.