Travel News

Jetstar flight delayed after ‘nervous’ passenger mentions Israel conflict and demands to be let off the plane


A flight in Australia was returned to the gate after a “nervous” male passenger began “behaving unusually”, causing unease among the cabin crew.

The Melbourne-bound Jetstar flight JQ501 was due to depart from Sydney at 6am on Tuesday (17 October) when an argument between the “anxious” flyer and crew delayed take off for several hours.

Fellow passenger Sheree Simpson told Nine’s Today program: “We saw a crew member talking to a passenger and the passenger, yelled out, ‘This is ridiculous. There’s a war going on in Palestine.’”

The disruptive passenger was then told that he was welcome to leave the plane as the aircraft returned to its gate to be met by Australian Federal Police officers.

It later transpired that the argument on board did not cause the flight to be evacuated.

A spokesperson for Jetstar cleared up inaccurate reports on the flight in a statement that read: “We can confirm there was no fight onboard, the aircraft was not evacuated, and there was no security risk.

“The aircraft returned to the gate and the passenger chose not to fly. We now understand the customer was a nervous flyer and was experiencing anxiety.”

Other alarmed passengers also decided not to continue their journeys post-incident.

“We also understand the situation made some other people onboard feel uneasy and they also decided not to continue with their journey,” said Jetstar.

“As a result of this, we had to delay the flight and apologise to customers for the inconvenience.”

Ms Simpson said: “It’s a bit scary – 9/11 just pops into your head straight away when you see passengers disembarking, and things being not normal.”

It’s not the first time passenger nerves have disrupted air travel.

In May, a man who petrified passengers by opening the door during an Asiana Airlines flight said he was feeling “uncomfortable” and just “wanted to get off the plane quickly.”

The man was detained by police at Daegu International Airport once the plane had landed.

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