A middle-aged man was refused a drink on a flight from Manchester to Tenerife. His response? To swear at airplane crew members. Their response? The pilot diverted the charter plane and forced the troublesome holidaymaker to disembark on a barren volcanic island off the west coast of Africa some 300 miles from his destination.
For 36 hours the local police questioned the 53-year-old man over the air rage incident. During this time he was confined to Porto Santo, a Portuguese-administered desert island, nine miles long and three miles wide.
According to Monarch airline the man appeared to be drunk and as a result repeatedly insulted cabin crew and fellow holidaymakers shortly after the Airbus A321departed from Manchester.
The passenger was thought to be an Irish citizen living in Lancashire. Apparently he ignored numerous appeals to calm down after he got agitated when he was refused further alcoholic drinks. As the plane reached its cruising height of 35,000ft, the captain decided he needed to make an unscheduled stop and remove the man from the plane.
The passenger was traveling alone and had purchased a one-way ticket to Tenerife. Once they arrived at the airport at the “golden isle”, which is part of the Madeira archipelago, he was escorted from the plane by police and taken to the station.
The man’s luggage was removed and searched as well. The airline pilot, a captain, gave a statement to police before taking off again with the remaining 211 passengers and arrived in Tenerife nearly four hours late.
A spokesman for the Madeira police said the man admitted he wanted a drink and when he was told no, he got angry and caused a fight. After the incident was resolved with local police, the man traveled to nearby Madeira and boarded a flight for Tenerife. According to Portuguese police, the man will have to report to Lancashire police as part of the conditions of his release. A Lancashire police spokeswoman said the force had not yet been contacted by Portuguese police.
A spokeswoman for Monarch said the passenger would not be welcome on their aircraft again.