An "intoxicated" man was filmed throwing punches at the pilot on a Virgin flight, leaving everyone on board "in shock".
A passenger who was travelling on the Townsville to Sydney flight on Wednesday, told Yahoo News Australia that out of the 80 Virgin flights he's been on for work this year, "this was by far one of the worst incidents (he's) seen, as had the crew".
Sydney resident Ben McKay said the man was a business class passenger and started bothering staff at the airport. Things soon escalated when he was refused alcohol on the plane.
"Prior to boarding the flight, the gentleman involved in the altercation was annoying airport staff regarding the status of the plane," Ben McKay said.
"When he jumped on the flight, he was clearly intoxicated. The air hostess in business class then notified him they would be unable to serve him alcohol on the flight, to which he was unpleased about."
The back-and-forth ended in the air hostess telling the man "he would be unable to fly as he posed a risk to the customers," however he did not back down.
"The air hostess got up and left the situation," Mr McKay said. "The intoxicated gentleman followed, and an altercation broke out between the gentleman and the air hostesses when he was asked to leave the plane."
Mr McKay said the "pilot got involved" which is when the "situation turned physical".
"The gentleman begins rapping at the pilot and attempting to throw punches at him and the aeroplane staff," Mr McKay said. "The gentleman was then pushed off of the plane with the help of passengers and crew, and escorted off the plane by authorities."
Mr McKay filmed the fight from his seat, in which the pilot is heard saying "don't lift your hands at me" and "you're off mate" before a scuffle breaks out as the disruptive passenger is being ushered off the plane while shouting profanities.
Virgin condemns rowdy behaviour by passenger
"The safety of guests and crew is our number one priority and we have zero tolerance for any type of unruly behaviour on Virgin Australia flights," a spokeswoman from the airline said in a statement. "Incidents are referred to the Australian Federal Police or State Police where appropriate."
Yahoo News Australia understands Queensland Police were involved and the passenger has now had travel restrictions imposed on him.
Staff praised for reaction to unruly passenger
Mr McKay was supportive of the staff and how they handled the rowdy passenger.
"Everyone on the plane was in shock and it certainly was unpleasant to watch," he said. "Everyone commended the crew for their work in handling the situation."
Social media users also praised the staff's "amazing" response, commenting on the TikTok video which has now been viewed more than 36,000 times. "Cabin crew do not deserve this behaviour, thank goodness for the pilot for stepping in," one person said. "Crew did amazing, they shouldn’t have to deal with this..but damn that female flight attendant was fiercely awesome," another said.
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