Couple's Mid-flight Fight Causes American Airlines Plane to Return to the Airport
An American Airlines flight from Chicago to Toronto was forced to turn around on Wednesday after a fight broke out between a couple on board.
American Airlines flight 3284 took off from Chicago at 5:06 p.m. on Wednesday. It was only in the air for about 15 minutes before it turned back around for O’Hare airport due to a “disruptive” passenger on board, an airline spokesperson told the Chicago Sun-Times.
It arrived back at O’Hare at 5:48 p.m., according to FlightAware. Police met the flight as it landed. Police told NBC Chicago that the flight was turned around due to a “small verbal argument” between the couple and that nobody was injured in the argument.
However, one passenger wrote on Twitter that a flight attendant said the woman was punched in the face and that the husband refused to get off, so the entire flight had to deplane.
It has not been confirmed whether or not this was a case of domestic violence. Police said no charges were filed.
After the incident, the flight was delayed about five hours, due to a crew swap, a passenger said. It took off again from O’Hare at about 10 p.m. and landed in Toronto after a one-hour flight.
The couple was rebooked on a later flight.
In issues of a mid-flight fight, it is up to the discretion of the pilot whether or not to turn the plane around. At first, cabin crew will attempt to talk down the passenger. If unsuccessful, they must call local police. The pilot will then decide whether or not the disruptive passengers poses a threat to others in the cabin. If so, they will turn the flight around or land at an alternate airport, depending on the circumstances.