TOKYO (WASHINGTON POST) – Domestic airlines in the United States aren’t the only ones experiencing periodic turbulent passenger incidents, apparently.
A video recorded on an All Nippon Airways flight on Monday (May 1) captured a fistfight that broke out between two male passengers.
The brawl was captured by Mr Corey Hour, an Arizona-based videographer who was sitting a few rows behind the men.
The plane was scheduled to fly from Tokyo’s Narita International Airport to Los Angeles International Airport but had not yet taken off when a man in a red shirt abruptly turned around and told a passenger in a grey T-shirt that he was “going to kill him”, according to Mr Hour.
“He literally just flipped,” Mr Hour told The Washington Post by phone early on Tuesday morning (May 2). “Nobody knows why.”
According to Mr Hour’s video, what ensues is an intense exchange of punches as the two go at each other.
“Someone help!” the man in the grey shirt yells. “This guy is crazy!”
“I’ll kill you!” the man in the red shirt yells.
Around them, passengers look shocked as flight attendants try to stop the fight and separate the men. In the background, a child can be heard crying, and at least one woman gets out of her seat to get farther from the scene.
At one point, several flight attendants manage to move the man in the red shirt toward the front of the plane, where he briefly turns back to shout something about “America”.
However, the man soon returns and resumes fighting with the same passenger.
When a female flight attendant tries to break up the brawl again, she gets caught up in some of the blows.
Mr Hour said that is when he stopped filming and intervened.
“It was intense, and we had to step in,” he told The Post.
Mr Hour said the man in the red shirt yelled at him: “You think I’m crazy? What about the government!”
“He was actually predominantly talking about the government and corruption, but he wasn’t specifying which government,” Mr Hour added.
After leaving the plane, the unruly passenger reportedly choked a male All Nippon Airways employee, according to Japan Today, and was arrested and charged with assault. He was identified only as a 44-year-old American man.
Mr Hour said airline employees unloaded all the checked bags from the flight and removed the man’s luggage. The flight was ultimately delayed about an hour and a half, he said.
All Nippon Airways, or ANA, is a major carrier in Japan and has won the “Best Airline Staff in Asia” award from Skytrax for the past two years.
“All Nippon Airways apologies to our passengers on Flight#6 to Los Angeles for the pre-flight incident,” an airline spokesman said in an e-mail statement to The Post on Tuesday (May 2).
“The individuals involved have been dealt with appropriately by local law enforcement.”
The confrontation aboard the ANA flight comes after a string of high-profile incidents aboard domestic airlines in the United States.
Last month, viral videos captured a passenger being forcibly dragged from a United Airlines flight. The incident caused a public relations crisis for United, which initially defended itself by stating that the passenger, David Dao, had “refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily”.
Mr Dao and United reached an “amicable” settlement for an undisclosed amount last week, the airline said.
A few weeks later, American Airlines grounded a flight attendant after a video showed a confrontation between him and another passenger, allegedly after removing a woman’s baby stroller from the plane.
Last week, a Delta Air Lines passenger said he was kicked off a plane for using the restroom, only a few days before a video emerged showing a Delta pilot hitting a passenger on the Jetway in Atlanta. The airline said the pilot was trying to break up a fight.
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents American Airlines flight attendants, released a statement following the alleged baby-stroller incident cautioning the public not to rush to judgement.
“Air rage has become a serious issue on our flights,” Mr Bob Ross, the association’s president, said in the statement.