Fighting, drinking and dancing on seats - the Ryanair flight from hell
Reporter claims service to Valletta full of ‘inebriated’ passengers heading to music festival
RTÉ reporter Kieran Dineen said many of the people on the Ryanair flight to Malta were “quite inebriated” and he witnessed several fights. File photograph: Nick Ansell/PA Wire
A RTÉ reporter who flew to Malta on a Ryanair flight on Tuesday has painted a picture of a chaotic and sometimes “quite scary” journey during which several fights broke out and dozens of apparently inebriated passengers danced on seats and abused flight crew.
Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, reporter Kieran Dineen said he was on a flight to Malta for a sun holiday and of the 180 fellow passengers on the plane, as many as 150 were heading to a music festival on the island.
He said many of the mostly young people were “quite inebriated” and he witnessed several fights.
He described how one man was pinned to the ground by two others for a long part of the flight so he could be kept under control.
“There were punches thrown, one man was held up to the window of the plane by his neck so it was quite a scary experience especially for those people not interested in the dance festival,” he said.
“There were some going to the dance festival who behaved themselves but of the 180 on the flight there was quite a number who were unruly.”
The reporter said problems became apparent even before the plane took off with people “jumping out of their seats, some would even shout at the stewards or give them hand gestures to show that they weren’t really interested in what they thought”.
When the plane eventually did take off, it left the ground to a soundtrack of dance music “blaring all over the plane”.
He said that when the plane was at its cruising altitude “the real messing really started”.
He described how “huge groups congregated at both bathrooms mainly because the drinks carts were there and they bought many many drinks and there was huge bottles from duty free were opened, bottles of rum, bottles of vodka, bottles of whiskey and were being downed on the plane.”
‘Big bottle of vodka’
He said one man walked up and down the aisle “handing out a big bottle of vodka for people to take sups out of. So it was quite scary because there was always the chance that things would spill over, thankfully things didn’t quite spill over but really there was an opportunity that they could”.
The reporter said staff were “very slow in dealing with the problem [and] seemed to think there was little they could do except advise people to turn down their radios. I didn’t witness any of them trying to take the glass bottles away from people, they kept serving alcohol on the flight for an hour and a half despite it being obvious that there was an issue considering there was so much alcohol already on people.”
He said that half way through the flight staff “did try to get it under control and they did make some efforts but by that stage it was just too late, because it had all got too much out of hand, there was pushing and shoving and there was fights breaking out, there was shouting and roaring along the aisles”.
In response to the report, Ryanair issued a statement in which it said that “crew on Dublin to Malta flight requested police assistance upon arrival after several passengers became disruptive in flight, the aircraft landed normally and the police removed and detained these individuals.”
The statement said the airline would “not tolerate unruly or disruptive behaviour at any time and the safety and comfort of our customers, crew and aircraft is our number one priority. This is now a matter for local police.”