Unruly Passenger Forces Flight To Return To Airport After 3 Hours

By Bill Galluccio

April 25, 2023

Rear View Of People Sitting In Airplane
Photo: Getty Images

An international flight from Newark Airport in New Jersey to Tel Aviv was forced to turn around three hours into its 10-hour trip because of an unruly passenger.

A passenger on the flight told Israeli news site YNetNews.com that a man got up from his seat to use the bathroom and sat down in a seat reserved for flight attendants while he waited for the lavatory to be free.

When asked to move, the man refused and got into an argument with the flight attendants. The argument escalated, and one of the flight crew members warned the man that the pilot would turn around the plane unless he cooperated.

The man did not take their threats seriously and mocked the flight crew. Eventually, the pilot decided to turn the plane around so the passenger could be removed.

However, the pilot and flight crew did not inform the rest of the passengers that the plane was turning around over the Atlantic Ocean.

"No one bothered to inform us," the passenger said. "We just noticed it on the map showing our flight path, and when we landed, we saw the police waiting for the plane."

The plane landed in Newark at 6:28 a.m., nearly six hours after leaving. The man who caused the disturbance was removed from the aircraft and taken into custody.

"United flight 90 traveling from Newark to Tel Aviv returned to Newark shortly after takeoff due to a disruptive passenger," United Airlines said in a statement. "Law enforcement met the aircraft and removed the passenger. A new flight was scheduled to depart Sunday evening."

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