Plenty of couples argue when they travel - but earlier this week, one plane actually had to turn around thanks to a couple's spat on board. It's not a rarity, sadly; flights have been turned around or landed early because of passenger misbehavior many times. Something about the stress of travel, the joys of vacationing, or even the romance of being in the air just seems to bring out the worst in some people.
Reports about of passengers being kicked off flights for being rude or disruptive to staff or other passengers, for having one too many of those in-flight drinks (or several too many, in many cases) or occasionally for getting a little amorous under the complimentary blankets. Earlier this week, one couple caused an American Airlines flight to turn around, thanks to a 'verbal disagreement' they had on board.
Flight 3284 was meant to travel from Chicago to Toronto, but after taking off just after 5pm, the flight was only airborne for around fifteen minutes before it turned around and headed back to O'Hare where it landed again at 5.48pm. The reason for the quick return was a couple who had a 'small verbal argument' (according to police). The plane was met by police, and the couple were escorted off. The flight was then delayed by several hours, eventually taking off a second time from O'Hare at around 10pm.
The flight attendant said the woman was punched in the face. I’m appalled that this is being treated as minor.— Christy Brissette RD (@80twentyrule) November 29, 2018
The details of the argument are not clear, with the police downplaying it as a minor verbal spat, while other passengers claim it was much more serious. One passenger (who tweeted photos as well as info) said that the flight was met by police, fire, and ambulance, that the entire flight had to deplane, and that the husband punched the wife in the face and refused to leave the plane when it landed. Police say no one was injured, but do not appear to have responded to tweets asking if the man was charged, and it has been reported that the couple were simply rebooked on a later flight.
It's difficult to know for sure what happened here - whether this was a case of travel stress getting out of control and causing a screaming match in-flight... or if this was something that escalated to physical violence. In general, disruptions mid-flight can lead to a plane turning back or landing at another airport nearby for law enforcement to get involved, but only if the flight attendants are unable to calm the passengers in question. One thing is sure, though - no one was happy about this situation, least of all the couple in question.