Thai Smile Airways apologizes for the viral altercation on board


A video of passengers fighting on a flight over a reclining seat went viral on Wednesday, prompting the airline to make a formal apology the next day.

In the video, a male passenger can be seen verbally arguing with an increasing number of men. Although one of the crew tries to calm the agitated group, she backs out of the way once the men become physically aggressive. As the passengers look on, the lone man tries to defend himself against the wave of attacks from the group of men around him.

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The Bangkok-Kolkata flight took place on Tuesday, and the incident clip has been uploaded before Saurabh Sinha Wednesday. As of this writing, the video has over 3 million views and 6,200 likes.

Shortly after the video went viral, Thai Smile Airways issued an apology via India’s Twitter account, @Thysmail India.

Both India’s Civil Aviation Security Bureau and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation requested details from Smile Airways in connection with the altercation, but the nature of the foreign airline and registration status, Thailand, brought up the question of jurisdiction.

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The altercation occurred after the sole male passenger in Seat 37C refused to raise his seat per crew safety instructions as the plane was preparing for takeoff, according to reports. Times of India. Although crew members warned that the man’s actions would be reported to the pilot, the passenger justified his refusal with claims he had back pain and prompted the flight crew, replying, “Well, tell [the pilot]. I’m not afraid.” Passengers in seats 38A, B, and C confronted the man for his behavior, which led to a physical altercation.

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As a result, the flight was delayed but “continued as normal” after the passengers involved calmed down, the airline said. However, the passengers were kept under surveillance, and passenger 37C was denied alcohol.

Passengers in 37A and B were given the option to change seat but declined. According to the airline, no one was injured.

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