Two Indian passengers on a Calcutta-bound flight from Bangkok have come to blows after an argument over seat belts escalated and video of the incident, taken by a passenger on the plane, went viral.
The verbal argument between the two passengers on a Thai Smile Airways that was taking off from Bangkok, Thailand got out of hand and resulted in an embarrassing fist fight inside the plane.
In a statement, Thai Smile Airways said a passenger was refusing to wear his seat belt despite repeated pleas from the crew. The assault occurred on Dec. 26 before the Calcutta-bound flight took off from Thailand, he said.
The passenger continued to hold the seat reclined before takeoff. This delayed take-off as the aircraft commander was informed that a passenger on board had failed to comply. The accident report said the passenger claimed to be suffering from back pain and therefore refused to straighten his seat and fasten his seat belt. The crew then informed him that it was mandatory.
Then other passengers were involved and this led to a verbal skirmish between the two. In the video, one passenger could be heard asking the other to put their hands down. They soon struck as others watched.
A crew member was heard urging the two to stop the fight and take their seats.
Thai Smile Airways says no one was injured in the assault.
The accident report, which he had access to NDTV, said Thai Smile Airways did not serve alcoholic beverages to passengers involved in the duel on the plane. She said there would be no further disturbances for the rest of the journey.
No passengers were asked to leave the plane or disembark.
On social media, the video received various responses. Many said the passengers embarrassed themselves and that those involved in the fist fight should be placed on the no-fly list and prevented from flying for their boorish behaviour.
One user wrote: “Will @DGCAIndia identify these passengers and ban them? These are a disgrace to our nation.” Another tweeted: “Clear violation of aircraft rules and onslaught of rowdies should have been reported to police by the crew. The crew’s lack of training is very evident.
Meanwhile, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, which monitors aviation safety, said it had “took note of the viral video, which shows a fight between passengers on a Thai Airways flight bound for Calcutta”. Zulfiquar Hasan, director general of the office, said he had requested a detailed report from the relevant authority.
CNBC reported that Thai Smile Airways apologized for the incident and said the airways “feel sorry about this. We reiterate that the incident was dealt with as we followed flight safety procedures in accordance with international standards.”