An Italian woman flying on a Vistara Airlines flight from Abu Dhabi to Mumbai reportedly half-stripped off her clothing and started to run up and down the aisles while shouting abuse and assaulting the cabin crew early on Monday morning.
The altercation allegedly erupted because the woman, who had booked an Economy Class ticket, wanted to be upgraded to a Business Class seat.
Vistara Airlines flight UK-256 landed at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport at 4:45 am on Monday following a two-and-a-half-hour flight from Abu Dhabi where police were waiting to meet the Airbus A320 aircraft and take the woman into custody.
A spokesperson for the Mumbai Police Force confirmed that it had arrested an Italian national after it was alleged that the passenger had assaulted cabin crew and disrupted the flight.
According to local media, the woman has already had an initial appearance in court and been granted bail pending a full trial.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the airline explained: “We confirm that there was an unruly passenger on Vistara flight UK 256 operating from Abu Dhabi to Mumbai on January 30, 2023.”
“In view of the continued unruly conduct and violent behaviour, the captain issued a warning card and made a decision to restrain the passenger,” the statement continued.
The spokesperson said the cabin crew and pilots followed standard operating procedures throughout the incident and ensured police were waiting to meet the aircraft on arrival.
Tata-owned Vistara is set to be merged with Air India – a carrier that has been under intense scrutiny over its handling of a now world-famous ‘pee-gate’ incident when a Business class passenger urinated over his seatmate in a drunken stooper.
Air India faced a backlash after it was revealed that the cabin crew and pilots failed to inform the authorities of what had happened, and the suspect was allowed to disembark as normal.
Local officials have fined Air India and temporarily suspended the pilot as punishment, while the airline has promised to improve crew training and reporting systems.
Air India has also changed its policy on serving alcohol to passengers as part of a wider discussion about unruly and disruptive passenger behaviour onboard Indian airlines.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.