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Friday, September 11, 1998 Published at 16:34 GMT 17:34 UK


'Air rage' passenger arrested

Britannia Airways: Restrained passenger

A passenger who went "berserk" on an aircraft carrying 300 holidaymakers has been arrested after a diversion to Cardiff airport.

The Britannia Airways flight from Las Palmas to Manchester diverted to Cardiff after a man verbally abused cabin crew and attempted to force his way into the cockpit on Thursday.

Crew members and a number of passengers managed to restrain the 23-year-old man, and secured him in his seat.

'Disruptive and aggressive'

He was detained under the Mental Health Act by South Wales Police and may be charged with endangering an aircraft, a crime that usually carries a custodial sentence.

[ image: Crew members receive 'air rage' training]
Crew members receive 'air rage' training
A spokeswoman for Britannia Airways said: "A passenger became disruptive and aggressive towards the cabin crew who had to use a restraint kit.

"The captain took the decision to divert to ensure nothing jeopardised the safety of crew and passengers."

The aircraft was able to continue its flight to Manchester after a 30-minute delay.

Two people were jailed in early September after being convicted of separate air rage attacks on transatlantic airline staff.

'Yellow card' system

David Wilkie, 19, who was drunk when he "erupted" on a Virgin flight from Florida to Manchester was jailed for 18 months after the aircraft was diverted because he bit and headbutted cabin crew who refused to serve him more drinks.

Elizabeth Ann Elliott, 24, was jailed for a similar period on the same day after an incident that led to her being handcuffed by British Airways cabin crew on a flight from New York to London.

BA has recently introduced a 'yellow card' system to deal with 'air-rage' attacks, which it said were "occurring with depressing frequency".

Under the system, misbehaving passengers are given one 'yellow card' warning before they are issued with a red card that bans them from flying with BA.

In 1997, there were more than 260 serious incidents involving unruly passengers on BA alone .

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