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United Airlines Flight to Newark Forced to Divert Due to a Unruly Passenger And Then Ends Up Being Quarantined Because of a Suspected Infectious Disease

United Airlines Flight to Newark Forced to Divert Due to a Unruly Passenger And Then Ends Up Being Quarantined Because of a Suspected Infectious Disease

a group of police cars parked in front of an airplane

A United Airlines flight from Brussels to Newark was forced to divert to Dublin Airport due to an unruly passenger but ended up being quarantined in a remote part of the airport because another passenger had a suspected infectious disease.

United flight 998 departed Brussels at around 11:30 am on Monday but after just an hour in the air, the pilots of the Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner were forced to start diverting to Dublin due to reports of a disruptive passenger.

Upon landing in Dublin, what may have seemed like a minor inconvenience for many of the other passengers onboard turned into a much bigger drama when it transpired that, in a completely separate incident, another passenger was displaying signs of an infectious disease.

Airport authorities had the aircraft taxi to a remote part of the airfield, where it was surrounded by emergency service vehicles. Passengers were ordered to stay onboard, while airport staff were ordered to keep back from the plane as an infectious disease team from the Health Service Executive rushed to the airport.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Dublin Airport said that local authorities had followed “appropriate protocols” when they quarantined the aircraft for several hours.

“Flight UA998 from Brussels to New York’s Newark Airport diverted to Dublin Airport this afternoon due to reports of two separate incidents – a disruptive passenger and a suspected medical issue – on board,” the airport said.

“Appropriate protocols were put in place by Dublin Airport Operations and Airport Police for the arrival of the aircraft and Gardai, National Ambulance Service and HSE personnel met the aircraft on arrival.”

Thankfully, after a long wait on the tarmac, two medics from the HSE boarded the plane to carry out tests on the ill passenger. Those tests concluded that the passenger did not have a serious infectious disease and the plane has been allowed to depart.

Both the unruly passenger and the sick passenger have been removed from the plane, while airport authorities arrange for the aircraft to be refuelled so that it can continue its journey to Newark on Monday evening.

United Airlines said it was working to get passengers to their destinations as quickly as possible, saying in a statement:

“United flight 998 from Brussels to Newark landed safely in Dublin on Monday because of a disruptive passenger. Separately, a medical situation was identified with a different passenger and medical personnel are investigating and providing assistance while passengers and crew wait on board.”

“We are working to get our customers to their destinations as quickly as possible.”

Johan Westberg, a passenger onboard the flight, said he was expecting the plane to arrive 5 – 6 hours late, meaning that he would miss his onward connection to Washington DC. In a post on social media site X, however, Westberg said it was “better safe than sorry”.

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