An Air France plane en route from Paris to New Delhi made a forced landing in Sofia, Bulgaria, on Friday evening due to an unruly Indian passenger, according to a media report.
Citing prosecution sources, the report by Bulgarian News Agency (BTA) said the passenger behaved arrogantly with others, attacked crew members and knocked on the cockpit doors.
The disruptive passenger was detained for 24 hours, Xinhua news agency quoted the BTA report as saying.
The Indian Embassy in Sofia has been notified of the incident, the report added.
This is not the first time that unruly Indian passengers have caused scenes on aircraft.
1. In August 2014, an unruly passenger onboard an Air India flight from Melbourne to Delhi had to be tied to his seat by crew members after he started misbehaving following one drink too many. According to reports from the time, the passenger got so unruly that tore the clothes of two flight attendants and even tried to bite fellow passengers before the crew decided to restrain him to his seat.
2. In January last year, unruly passengers allegedly manhandled cabin crew members and threatened to break open the cockpit door of Air India’s Boeing 747 aircraft after their Delhi-Mumbai flight on was delayed by nearly five hours due to a technical problem, according to an airline official. An Air India spokesperson has said at the time that the operating crew has been asked to submit a detailed report on the reported misbehavior by some passengers.
3. In October 2019, three members of a family were deplaned from an Air India flight in Mumbai for misbehaving with crew members after the flight was recalled due to a technical issue. As a result, flight AI-663 from Mumbai to Goa was delayed by five hours.
4. In November 2017, a woman passenger slapped an Air India duty manager, who slapped her back after an argument broke out between the two at Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport. According to reports, the traveller was upset after having been denied boarding as she reported late for her flight. The passenger was booked on Air India’s Delhi-Ahmedabad flight scheduled to depart at 5 am but reported at the check-in counter nearly 40 minutes before her flight instead of the required 75 minutes.After an argument over the issue, she was directed to the Air India duty manager. A heated exchange soon ensued and the passenger slapped the lady airline staff, who hit her back. The two later apologised to each and the matter was “amicably resolved”.
5. In June last year, Kerala Police booked a case against a man in his 60s from Perintalmanna town for allegedly molesting a co-passenger. The incident occurred on an Oman Air chartered flight from Muscat to Kozhikode. The woman had been traveling with her son to Kerala.
Last year, Aviation regulator DGCA on Wednesday issued new rules for airlines and their cabin crew members for handling unruly passengers on board, stating that increased stress on flyers due to new procedures in place amid the COVID-19 pandemic may lead to a rise in disputes between them and cabin crew members.
(With inputs from IANS and PTI)