United Airlines flight forced to turn around after Israeli passengers sneak into business class

United Airlines flight forced to turn around after Israeli passengers sneak into business class
2 min read
22 January, 2022
A flight to Israel from New York was forced to turn around when two passengers snuck into business class and refused to return to their seats.
The passengers were removed from the plane by police [Getty]

A Thursday flight from New York to Israel was forced to turn around mid-flight, when two Israeli passengers caused a commotion after being asked to prove their seat allocation. 

According to Israeli media, the two Israeli passengers were discovered sitting in the business class section of the United Airlines flight, and when asked to prove they had tickets for the seats they were sitting in, refused to present them. 

One eyewitness on the plane, Roi Lotan, told Channel 12 that when the two passengers were asked to present their tickets, “a riot started”.

Lotan told Channel 12 that the plane was only at half capacity, and “so they probably just said to themselves 'why not?’”.

The commotion forced the plane to turn around, just 90 minutes into the flight, and return to the New York airport that it had originally departed from.

A video taken onboard the plane once it landed showed US police officers detaining the two passengers and removing them but CNN later said that “no charges by Port Authority Police Department were issued”. 

Lotan added that it was not made clear when the remaining airline passengers would be able to board another plane to complete their journey. 

A spokesperson for the airline said that they had “provided our customers with meal vouchers and hotel accommodation and have made arrangements for customers to complete their journeys.”

The spokesperson added that the safety of passengers “is above all” and that “inappropriate behaviour” would not be tolerated.

Since the beginning of 2022, there have been 151 reports of unruly passengers made to the US Federal Aviation Administration, with the majority of these related to the wearing of masks.