Brawl Over Face Masks On KLM Flight Sends 2 Passengers To Jail

A fight broke out on a KLM flight Friday morning after two passengers refused to wear a face mask. Spanish authorities met the flight from Amsterdam on its arrival in Ibiza, and the two passengers were arrested. The nationality of the passengers involved has not been confirmed. However, footage of the fight filmed by another passenger appears to show two English-speaking passengers brawling.

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The two passengers arrested are not believed to be Dutch citizens. Photo: Getty Images

Brawl over face masks

Wearing face masks has become a part of the new normal, as countries implement rules to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. As the aviation industry adapts to the current situation, face masks have become mandatory onboard several flights. Nevertheless, there still appears to be some reluctance by some passengers to wear them.

This reluctance led to a fight breaking out on KLM flight 1495 from Amsterdam to Ibiza on Friday. Two passengers refused point-blank to wear a face mask and became abusive when challenged by the cabin crew for not complying with the airline’s rules. A video posted on Twitter by a passenger onboard the flight shows that cabin crew and passengers worked together to restrain and subdue the two passengers involved.

As the flight was far from its origin, the captain of the aircraft decided to continue to Ibiza. Upon landing, the two passengers were turned over to Spanish authorities. A report in Dutch media noted that the passengers involved had been drinking. In a statement to Simple Flying, the airline said,

Last Friday there was an incident on KL1495 from Amsterdam to Ibiza. During this flight two passengers misbehaved verbally and physically. The captain informed the authorities in Ibiza and both persons were arrested upon arrival. Flight safety was not endangered.”

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The Netherlands has made facemasks mandatory on all flights due to difficulty in maintaining social distancing. Photo: Getty Images

Face mask rules become stricter

There have been several reports of passengers onboard flights refusing to wear face masks, although thankfully, this is the first report of an incident turning violent. For instance, in June, a passenger on board a KLM flight was fined $353 (€300) by the Dutch Royal Military police for not complying with face mask rules.

Just last week, a Delta Air Lines flight from Detroit to Atlanta returned to the gate after two passengers refused to wear face coverings. The two passengers were removed from the plane before it was allowed to take off.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian said that the airline already has 100 people on its no-fly list for refusing to wear face masks.

Several airlines in the US have tightened the rules regarding face masks in recent days. Altogether, this move came in an attempt to restore confidence in customers as travel demand remains low.

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KLM reported that only 30% of its flights operated in July. Photo: Getty

KLM facing difficulties

Friday was a busy day for KLM news-wise, as the company announced that it would be cutting a further 5,000 positions across the KLM group. The airline said that the move was necessary to adapt its organization to deal with the current situation.

Altogether, the cuts would include 1,500 compulsory layoffs from the current workforce of 33,000. The other cuts would come from the voluntary redundancy scheme and the non-renewal of temporary contracts. KLM is not expecting travel demand to increase until 2023 or 2024.

What do you think about face masks on flights? Let us know in the comments.