Family endured flight from hell when passenger was disruptive and punched an elderly man

Startled holidaymakers endured a flight from hell after they claim a rowdy passenger threw lit cigarettes around and punched an elderly man.

A group of women and children– including a 10-month-old baby – claim cabin staff on their Ryanair flight from Malaga completely lost control of the situation.

The families claim a bare-chested passenger said he had bombs on him and he lashed out and punched an elderly passenger – breaking his glasses and making him bleed.

After this incident, a group of male passengers tackled the man and managed to restrain him until the plane landed safely at East Midlands airport on Wednesday night.

Hazel Hickson, 53, who was returning from a holiday in Malaga, was on board the Ryan Air "flight from hell"

Hazel Hickson (pictured far left), 53, who was returning from a holiday in Malaga, was on board the Ryan Air “flight from hell”

Hazel Hickson, 53, from Leicester was returning from a five-day trip to Malaga with friends and her 12-year-old son and she said the man had been sitting in an aisle seat two rows behind her son, Harry.

Hazel said: “Ten minutes into the flight he was making strange noises.”

“I first thought he might have learning difficulties, but then a couple sat close to him asked to be moved.

“He then stood up and said he could take the plane down, and somebody else said he heard him say he had three bombs.

“The cabin staff spoke to him, but they didn’t really do anything in particular.

“Then we could smell smoke and it turned out he had a lighter. It was taken off him, but he must have had another one because he lit a cigarette and started breaking it up.

“At one stage a big guy came over but the man’s behaviour became worse.

“He then started either verbally or physically abusing an elderly lady in front of him and, when her husband told him to stop, he punched him in the eye, breaking his glasses and making him bleed.

“At that point a group of seven or eight guys jumped on him and dragged him into the aisle.

“It turned into a brawl – one was punching him and another said ‘we’re taking control’.

“An air stewardess burst into tears. The men took him to the back of the aircraft and sat on him for 20 minutes until we landed, and it was the first time in the flight I felt safe.

“If the men hadn’t taken control, I think someone else would have got hurt. It was unbelievable.”
She said the cabin crew were young and “didn’t seem to be trained to deal with the situation”.

Passengers were told to stay in their seats when the plane landed at East Midlands, where police were waiting.

Sue Snodin, 56, from Leicester was travelling with her son’s partner Nicola and 10-month-old grandson Kian.

Sue said: “The man started five minutes into the flight, he was shouting and obviously upset, I thought he was on drink or drugs. He lit cigarettes and threw them down the plane.

“I felt the staff were not equipped to deal with the incident and we had to endure a two-and-a-half hour flight from hell. There was a young stewardess trying to deal with him, but she was getting really upset.

“When it was all over, the pilot came out of the cockpit, wiped his brow and asked if he had been removed, but there was no apology, nothing.
“I am putting a complaint into Ryanair.”

A Ryanair spokesman said: “The crew of this flight from Malaga to East Midlands requested police assistance on arrival after a passenger became disruptive.

“The aircraft landed normally and police removed and detained this passenger. Ryanair sincerely apologise to other customers for any inconvenience suffered on this flight. It is now a matter for Leicestershire police.”

A Leicestershire Police spokeswoman said a man had been charged with common assault, being drunk while on an aircraft and smoking on an aircraft and was due to appear in court in November.