Last weekend, United Airlines Flight 971 travelling from Rome to Chicago had to make an emergency landing in Belfast, Northern Ireland after an unruly passenger caused what the airline calls a “potential security risk.”
Unfortunately for United, the incident could cost the airline as much as $US550,000 in compensation and fees, the Telegraph’s Ben Farmer reported.
According to the Telegraph, trouble on the flight began when a 42 year-old male passenger stood up shortly after takeoff with the seat belt light still on and demanded crackers.
The passenger, seated in the economy section, reportedly refused to sit down until he received his snack.
The crew managed to placate the passenger for a short while by giving in to his demands. But minutes later, the unruly passenger got up and demanded more food, the publication reported.
However, this time, the crew told the passenger that he would only get more snacks after his fellow passengers had been served.
A policeman later told the Telegraph that the passenger responded by saying,” I can have as much nuts and crackers as I f****** want.”
Eventually, his behaviour became disruptive and erratic enough for the crew to be concerned with the welfare of the 269 passengers onboard the flight, the publication reported.
As a result the Boeing 777 jet had to dump more than 13,000 gallons of fuel before making an unscheduled land in the Northern Irish capital.
According to NBC News’ Alastair Jamieson, the unruly passenger was removed from the aircraft by law enforcement and charged with endangering the safety of an aircraft.
And due to the flight crew reaching the maximum of hours they are allowed to work by the Federal Aviation Administration, the passengers were forced to spend a night at Belfast International Airport.
Although several publications reported that the dispute was over nuts, a United Airlines spokesperson told Business Insider that the airline could not confirm any reports of demands for nuts, though there are reports the passenger asked for cracker.
Furthermore, United also clarified that the airline does not serve nuts in the economy section of long-haul flights such as 971, though crackers are provided. The airline provides complementary nuts in their premium cabins.
As for the $US550,000 cost of dealing with the matter, United said that the airline is currently declining to release the exact cost estimate to the public.
This incident is reminiscent of the now infamous “nut rage” incident on board a Korean Airlines jet last December.
This time around, it’s cracker rage.”
The passengers on United Airlines Flight 971 were all accommodated on later flights.
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