Two Indian passengers in a Kolkata-bound flight from Bangkok came to blows after an argument over seatbelts escalated and the video of the incident, taken by a passenger on the plane, has since gone viral.
The verbal altercation 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 airplane.
In a statement, Thai Smile Airways said that one passenger was refusing to tie the seatbelt despite repeated pleas from the crew. The assault took place on 26 December before the Kolkata-bound flight took off from Thailand, it stated.
The passenger continued to keep his seat reclined before takeoff. This delayed the takeoff as the captain of the plane was informed of the non-compliance by a passenger on board. The incident report said that the passenger said he was suffering from backache and hence refused to straighten his seat and tie the seatbelt. The crew then informed him that it was mandatory.
Then other passengers got involved and this led to a verbal skirmish between the two. In the video, one passenger could be heard asking the other to lower his hands. Soon, they hit out while others watched.
A crew member could be heard requesting the two to break up the fight and take their seats.
Thai Smile Airways says that no one received any injuries during the assault.
The incident report, which was accessed by NDTV, stated that Thai Smile Airways did not serve alcoholic beverages to the passengers involved in the duel on the plane. It said that there was no other disturbance for the remainder of the journey.
No passengers were asked to leave the plane or be deboarded.
On social media, the video received varied responses. Many said that the passengers embarrassed themselves and that those involved in the fistfight should be named on the no-fly list and barred from flying for their crude 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 & the rowdies assaulting should have been reported to the police by the crew. Lack of crew training is very evident.”
Meanwhile, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, which monitors aviation security, said that they have “taken note of the viral video, which shows a fight between passengers on a Thai Airways flight to Kolkata”. Zulfiquar Hasan, director general of the bureau, said that they have sought a detailed report from the concerned authority.
CNBC reported that Thai Smile Airways has apologised for the incident and said that the airways “feels sorry for this. We reaffirm that the incident has been taken care of as we followed the flight safety procedures in accordance with international standards”.