Armed police met a British Airways flight from Miami to London Heathrow after a passenger allegedly threatened a member of cabin crew and used “racist abuse”.
Police say a 46-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence.
It is understood that the musician Ed Sheeran was on board BA206, though he was not near the incident.
The Airbus A380 SuperJumbo took off from the Florida city at 5.23pm local time on Monday evening and was flying normally to Heathrow.
About two hours into the flight, a passenger is reported to have started abusing a male member of cabin crew and using racist language.
Another passenger on board, who was near the incident on the lower deck of the double-deck aircraft, said that the individual appeared to have been drinking heavily.
The passenger told The Independent: “There was serious racist abuse to an air steward, as well as threatening behaviour. Many people on board were frightened and distressed.”
The individual was subdued, reportedly with the help of a former police officer and two other passengers who were on board.
He was reported to have been moved to a jump seat normally used by cabin crew, where he was supervised for the remainder of the flight.
The captain did not divert the aircraft, which continued to Heathrow, where it was met by armed police.
A spokesperson for British Airways said: “Disruptive behaviour will never be tolerated onboard our aircraft and we will always take the appropriate action.”
A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said: “At 01:59hrs on Tuesday 24 October officers at Heathrow airport received a report that a passenger on a flight arriving from Miami had made racist comments towards other passengers and crew members.
“Officers met the aircraft on arrival and a 46-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence. He remains in custody.”