A Spirit Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Detroit last Thursday was forced to make an emergency landing following a brawl in the cabin. It appears that the passengers involved were keen to get some sleep, and that their request for peace and quiet didn’t go down so well. Flight NK709 landed safely, although some passengers were reportedly injured in the altercation.
Argument over derailed sleep
Red-eye flights are usually not fun. Sleeping on a plane is hard enough as it is for most of us. Seats (economy at least) always just beyond the reach of comfort, constant engine noise, and the occasional bump all conspire to keep us awake. Add noisy row-neighbors, and any plans for some shut-eye is soon out the window. So it is natural you would ask your fellow travelers to keep it down.
That did not turn out so well for one man on board Spirit Airlines flight NK709 on Thursday last week. What began as an argument between him and other passengers over their noise-level turned into outright assault. According to the New York Post, the man was beaten bloody, and the pilots were forced to make an emergency landing.
Des Moines detour
The plane was on its way from Los Angeles, California, to Detroit, Michigan, when it took a detour via Des Moines, Iowa. As reported by Click on Detroit, a woman who was on the flight was not impressed by the stance of the flight attendants during the fight. She thought they could have done more to break it up.
The airline told us that flight attendants did step in, but that they had to back off when the situation became too dangerous. The pilots decided to make an emergency landing and landed at Des Moines airport at 03.14 local time.
The woman also said she saw the two culprits change out of their bloodied clothing when the plane had landed, and before law enforcement arrived.
“They went and changed their clothes before the marshals came,” she said. “They hurried up and ran to the bathroom because they had blood all over their clothes and they didn’t want to be recognized.”
The airline’s take
As with any passenger-led report, it’s always worth taking their version of events with a small pinch of salt. Simple Flying reached out to Spirit Airlines for their take on the situation, who told us,
We are aware of a physical altercation onboard Flight Number 709 Las Angeles (LAX) to Detroit (DTW) that caused a diversion to Des Moines. Taking care of our Guests and Team Members is and always has been our absolute priority. Spirit Airlines does not tolerate any type of physical altercation on board our aircraft and appropriate action will be taken. We thank the law enforcement officers in Des Moines for their assistance upon arrival.
The plane finally landed in Detroit at 07:23 local time. There is no information about what happened with the people involved post-disembarking.
Have you ever been on a flight where a fight has broken out? How did the crew handle it? Or any other passenger-induced emergency landings?