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A wild “rage” on a flight from Darwin to Sydney ended in an assault charge


Ask to eat after the food is served. Choosing to go to the bathroom when the cart is in the aisle. Get up if the no buckle sign is still on.

Flight attendants will tell you that despite the constant smile, passengers on airplanes can be annoying.

But none of that even comes close to the nightmare the crew of a flight from Darwin to Sydney had to face last week.

When the 37-year-old passenger boarded the plane with crutches and an injured leg, the crew rushed to move him to an empty row to make him more comfortable.

But news.com.au can reveal that when another passenger who was allocated a seat from that row arrived, things changed.

The victim was accused of sitting on another passenger’s seat and refusing to move.

He then allegedly became aggressive towards a crew member and another passenger, using profanity and abusive language.

So much so that the passengers around him were encouraged to de-escalate the situation.

Later in the flight, when the buckle alarm was activated, the man allegedly stood up to retrieve crutches from the overhead storage compartment and refused to listen to the crew who told him to stop.

While that was all for the flight, it wasn’t over.

A crew member was walking through Sydney Airport when police say a 37-year-old man targeted him and hit him in the back with a crutch, injuring him.

The passenger was issued a police summons for assault, threats and intimidation of the crew and failure to comply with cabin crew safety instructions.

Police are concerned about the “air rage” trend.

It’s just one of hundreds of incidents at Australian airports or on flights this year that have been dubbed “air rage”.

In June, the 36-year-old was fined $1,110 for failing to comply with cabin crew safety instructions after they became upset and made “loud disparaging remarks about the airline and the crew” on board a flight from the Gold Coast to Sydney.

The explosion was caused by the plane being forced to return to the Gold Coast airport terminal due to delays and a curfew at Sydney airport.

Scheduled domestic flights cannot take off or land in Sydney between 11pm and 6am, so if a delay at another airport results in a new arrival time in Sydney at that time, it cannot take off at all.

Police said crew members feared the passengers’ behavior would incite other passengers to become disruptive.

The maximum penalty for disorderly conduct on an aircraft is a $9,000 fine, and interfering with the crew or aircraft is up to two years in prison.

Australian Federal Police officers have reported a trend of passengers creating public disturbances – informally known as “air rage” – as a result of missed flights, road delays and luggage problems.

They also reported a trend of violent behavior outside the terminals involving disputes over taxis or carpools.

At major airports, the AFP responded to 628 public disturbances, 120 cases of drunken and abusive behavior and 58 assaults this year.

Attacks are already almost 30 percent more than last year.

Melbourne had the highest number of riots, followed by Sydney and Perth.

Melbourne also had the highest number of assaults, one more than Sydney, followed by the highest number of cases of drink-driving or abusive behaviour.

AFP Commander Peter Bodel said the AFP was committed to supporting airport staff to make all travel safe.

“Airport staff are trained to streamline security processes and make sure everyone has a safe flight,” he said.

“It’s disappointing to see a small number of passengers show violent or abusive behavior towards people trying to do their jobs, so we urge passengers to do the right thing.”

If you require a police presence at the airport or wish to report an incident or provide information, call AFP Airport Security on 131 AFP (131 237).

Do you have a similar story? Email chantelle.francis@news.com.au

Originally published as A wild “rage” on a flight from Darwin to Sydney ended in an assault charge


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