Hawaiian Airlines made a dramatic move on Tuesday, when the aircraft had to return to Hawaii after a dispute broke out between passengers. Hawaiian said they were concerned about safety on board, but rebooked inconvenienced travelers onto another flight.
Dispute between passengers
On a flight from Honolulu to Los Angeles, two passengers got involved in a verbal dispute. Just two hours into the five-hour trip, the two men began to argue loudly. According to other passengers, the argument was all about one passenger’s reclined seat bumping into the other person.
The passenger who was sitting behind began to argue with the other passenger regarding his seat position. The argument quickly escalated, and soon yelling could be heard throughout the plane. At one point, one of the men was seen charging down the plane aisle at the other person.
2 passengers kicked off plane for fighting! Pilots made a u-turn mid-flight to LAX from Honolulu. Passengers say a flight attendant was hurt trying to restrain the two men. @NBCLA #HawaiianAirlines pic.twitter.com/nylNwtAqdN
— Darsha Philips (@DarshaPhilips) March 20, 2019
A flight attendant stepped in to stop the dispute before it could escalate any further. Thanks to their quick action, the disagreement did not become physical. It’s rumored that the flight attendant may have been injured in the process of breaking up the situation, but an injury report has not been officially announced.
After the incident was broken up, an announcement was made stating that the plane would be returning to Honolulu based on concerns over the safety of all the passengers.
Flight returns to Hawaii
The aircraft made its way back to its point of origin in Honolulu. It had left at 2:50 pm en route to Los Angeles. It returned and landed back in Hawaii at 6:38 pm, around the time that it should have been landing in LA.
Upon arrival back in Hawaii, the passengers involved in the argument were escorted off of the plane by police and taken into custody. The remaining 274 passengers and 11 crew were also forced to leave the plane and return to the gate to wait for their rescheduled flight. The passengers were told to take all of their carry-on luggage with them when they were exiting the plane.
— Siglov Freudivan (@DerangedRadio) March 22, 2019
The incident caused the most inconvenience to the passengers expecting to arrive in LA on Tuesday evening. Many of the passengers had connecting flights or previous engagements scheduled in the city, all of which had to be canceled due to the behavior of these two guys.
While a non-physical argument might seem like a small thing to turn an entire aircraft around for, Hawaiian Airlines were absolutely right to take a cautious approach to the situation. Protecting the safety of the other passengers was their priority, which meant getting the plane back on the ground as quickly as possible.
We are awaiting an official statement from Hawaiian Airlines about details of the flight incident.