A RYANAIR flight from the UK to Spain was forced to turn back after a ‘drunken’ woman allegedly slapped another passenger and verbally abused cabin crew just after take-off.
Flight 8296 from Bristol Airport to Alicante on Spain’s Costa Blanca had already taken off an hour late and passengers suffered a further delay after the aircraft had to return to the departure airport where the woman was met by Avon and Somerset police.
A passenger on the flight claimed: “When she got on the plane she was a bit worse for wear, loud and stumbling around.
“It wasn’t long after the seatbelt signs went off that she stood up and we could all hear her shouting.
“I heard later from another passenger that she had an argument with whoever she was sitting next to and had slapped them around the face.”
When cabin crew intervened it is claimed she became verbally abusive towards them and the pilot requested permission to divert the flight back to Bristol.
“We could all hear her shouting at staff, but I think they handled it all brilliantly and were really professional throughout.
A Ryanair spokesperson said: “This flight from Bristol to Alicante (30 Sept) returned to Bristol Airport shortly after take-off after a passenger became disruptive inflight.
“The aircraft landed normally and the passenger was removed and detained by police upon arrival, before the aircraft departed to Alicante.
“We will not tolerate unruly or disruptive behaviour at any time and the safety and comfort of our customers, crew and aircraft is our number one priority. This is now a matter for local police.”
A Bristol Airport spokesperson said: “A flight from Bristol to Alicante returned to Bristol Airport shortly after take-off due to a passenger onboard behaving in a disruptive manner.
“On arrival at Bristol Airport the passenger was questioned by police. As this is an ongoing police matter Bristol Airport is unable to comment further.”
They added: “We want all passengers flying from Bristol Airport to have an enjoyable start to their journey, but anti-social behaviour by a minority can spoil the experience for everyone. Any anti-social behaviour by passengers is not accepted by the Airport or airlines and could result in passengers being refused travel.
“The flight departed Bristol Airport with all remaining passengers onboard although a minor flight delay was experienced.”
Bristol Airport confirmed that the decision on whether a passenger is allowed to board sits with airline staff rather than the airport itself.