An ordinary flight to Kolkata from Bangkok earlier this week turned into a free-for-all when one of the passengers refused to follow the cabin crew’s safety instructions. What ensued was a fistfight between passengers, the video of which has gone viral. Sharing a blow-by-blow account of how the dust-up began, one of the passengers on the flight on Thursday told NDTV who, he felt, was to blame.
In the footage, which was recorded by a passenger on the Thai Smile Airways plane, cabin crew and fellow passengers are seen trying to calm down two standing men as they argue, eventually devolving into blows and attacks. The friends of the man who repeatedly attacks the other join in the fight, and it takes some time for a flight attendant to separate the fighting passengers and restore order.
Alok Kumar, a passenger on this flight, spoke about the incident in detail in an exclusive interview with NDTV. According to him, the disagreement began after a flight attendant asked the man in brown to keep his seat upright, as is standard during many phases of the flight, and in response, the passenger was “rude to the next level”.
Two flight attendants tried “pleading” with the man to follow the instructions as it was a security issue, but the man paid no heed. At this point, fellow passengers chimed in, telling the man to follow the instructions, with one reportedly asking him, “Are you travelling for the first time?”
Some passengers from the back of the plane, including the man in grey who is visible in the video, came to have a word with the man in brown, after which things quickly got out of hand.
Mr Kumar said that while one can see five to six men in the video, only the one man who refused to follow instructions was “kind of insane”, referring to the man being beaten up.
The others, he said, were simply “provoked” by him, which is not recorded in the video. He said that the man in brown was getting ready to punch the man in grey, but when the former’s friends joined in, he could not fight.
When the video first surfaced online, many netizens expressed sympathy for the man in brown, who is seen to be receiving unrelenting blows.
In reality, Mr Kumar said, the man who is being beaten was the main instigator of the incident.
Responding to a question that said the fight looked like a scene of Muay Thai fighting, Mr Kumar said that the fight consisted mainly of slapping. When asked if he thought these passengers should have been deboarded, he replied “At least one guy should have been deboarded, and it’s this guy, who got beaten.”
While no more blows were exchanged for the remainder of the flight, Mr Kumar said that the man in brown continued to complain, and refused to follow rules. Before the flight landed in Kolkata, he reportedly took off his seatbelt and was “rude to others”.