Passengers tackle ‘drunk and abusive’ man on London to New York flight

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  • February 1, 2024
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Published Feb 1, 2024, 4:30pm|Updated Feb 1, 2024, 6:39pm

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A ‘drunk’ man was detained by four passengers and put in a headlock on a plane after allegedly becoming abusive towards the cabin crew.

The shocking incident was filmed on board a JetBlue flight from London Gatwick to New York’s JFK Airport on Tuesday.

Footage shows a group of British people stepping in to try and help airline staff bring the situation under control as others watched on in disbelief.

One man can be seen holding him around the neck in the aisle while at least three others were restraining him as he tried to wriggle free.

A woman wearing a black t-shirt and grey tracksuit bottoms, who is thought to be the man’s girlfriend, asked the man grappling with her partner to move his finger away from his eye.

‘Please get that off of his face,’ she said, to which the other passenger replied: ‘I can’t just leave him.’

She can be heard saying ‘don’t tell me to stop’ as well as pleading with her boyfriend to calm down, but one of the group tells her to ‘move back now’.

‘Ben, Ben, stop fighting them,’ she said as the four hero travellers carried on holding him back. 

As the man started to struggle in the narrow gangway and smash into seats, one of the men then said: ‘Right, take him down.’

His partner can be heard sobbing amid the drama more than 33,000ft into the sky.

The group pinned the reportedly intoxicated passenger on a seat before he managed to get back upright.

But then they took him down to the floor of the aircraft towards two members of the crew.

One passenger can be heard saying ‘Jesus Christ’, while another said: ‘What the f***.’

A man also appeared to try and reassure a child by saying: ‘Don’t worry I’m right here.’

Witness Grant Saunders, who works as a hypnotist, said: ‘The men from the back of the plane came down to assist.

‘They eventually tackled him to the floor. I felt sorry for elderly couples who were sitting around where it was happening.

‘The lads got a round of applause as they left.’

He claimed: ‘The man was drunk and was getting loud and aggressive, moving seats. Then when the crew asked him to calm down, he started getting worse.

‘Then he started wandering about the aisle, the crew asked him to sit in his seat and he then started getting aggressive.’

The eight-hour flight took off from Gatwick at 11.55am and still arrived on time at 3.06pm local time, despite the incident.

Another passenger, only named as Nick, thanked the group of passengers for their efforts and believes they should be rewarded for stepping in.

He said: ‘They managed to restrain him and prevent the flight from being diverted and causing major disruption to the passengers and crew.

‘Due to their brave and brilliant efforts, the flight landed without further incident. They need to be recognised by the airline.’

JetBlue has been approached for comment.

It’s not the only recent case of mile-high scuffles and last month, a man was dragged off a Ryanair flight in a headlock after a huge brawl erupted on board.

In 2023, a newlywed husband wrecked his honeymoon after refusing to stop vaping on a plane, while another Ryanair flight made a U-turn after reports of people getting high on board.

This week, a woman avoided jail after she was kicked off a plane to Santorini for being drunk, later claiming that she downed four double vodkas to soothe her ‘flight anxiety’.

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