United Airlines flying from Newark to Israel returns after passengers self-upgrade

Two passengers conveniently upgraded themselves to empty business class seats, causing an uproar mid-air


                            United Airlines flying from Newark to Israel returns after passengers self-upgrade
United Airlines returns to Newark after mid-air fight (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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A common occurrence in flights these days is the diversion of airlines, all thanks to unruly passengers. Whether it is complying with the mask rules or general rules like keeping your belt on and not switching seats, passengers create ruckus mid-air, leading to authorities taking stern actions. On Thursday night, January 21, a United Airlines flying from Newark, New Jersey to Tel Aviv, Israel, had to be flown back to Newark after two passengers conveniently self-upgraded their seats to empty ones in the business class. 

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The passengers decided to occupy empty seats in the business class almost around one and a half hours into the trip. When a flight attendant asked the passengers to show their tickets, and they did not, a heated argument commenced. Not just that, after requesting to leave the business class seats, the passengers vehemently refused to it. The mid-air chaos resulted in Boeing 787-10 returning to Newark.

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One of the two passengers said to Israeli Channel 12 TV, "There was room so they probably said to themselves, 'why not come' (into business class). A riot started. … We landed back in New York, after we left for Israel."

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According to the statement released by the airline, they said that the flight had to be taken back "due to disruptive passengers on board," adding that, "Law enforcement officials met the aircraft upon landing." In the video shared by Channel 12, authoritative figures from New York Port Authority and New Jersey police were seen to be on the plane. The authorities collectively said that it was uncertain whether the unruly passengers will be charged or not. They also informed that the flight had 123 passengers on board and a crew of 11.

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Additionally, it was reported that the airline provided hotel accommodations, meal vouchers, and made other related arrangements for other passengers to ensure their comfort.

The incident occurred, a day after a passenger on a Miami to London flight refused to wear a mask and caused the plane to return (January 20).

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