The standoff between the flight crew and Australians at the back of the Sydney to Phuket flight on Wednesday ended well after three hours when the Captain gave the men a clear choice and even apologised for doing so saying he had to protect his crew. The men avoided the fate of six other Australians who in 2016 were arrested, taken off the flight in Bali, Indonesia and deported. Jetstar Airways promised to the time to pursue them for up to $100,00 in costs linked to their rowdyand outrageous behavior.
A decisive Captain aboard a regular Jetstar Airways flight from Sydney to Australia this week brought to an end a potentially dangerous standoff between his cabin crew and Australian men in high spirits. He made them an offer they could not refuse. Behave or face the flight being diverted and being taken off. Their holiday in Thailand over before it even began. The men heeded his warning unlike what happened on the same flight in July 2016 when it had to be diverted to Bali Airport where 6 Australian men were arrested and deported back to Australia. The men faced legal action by the airline to recover $100,000 in costs. It is expected that tourism numbers from Australia to Thailand will be up this year. Aussies have always flocked to the Land of Smiles and in particular Phuket which has become a favorite of the men and women from down under.
A decisive, calm and effective intervention by an airline pilot brought a group of rowdy Australians under control on Wednesday when their antics threatened the prospect of a diversion of the plane and their arrest. The group of Australian men subsequently changed their behavior allowing the flight to carry on to Phuket where it arrived safely at Phuket International Airport at around 9 O’Clock in the evening.
Incident began shortly after takeoff from Sydney of Jetstar Airways flight to Phuket
It is reported that the incident occurred shortly after takeoff of the popular and regular Jetstar Airways flight from Sydney to Phuket on Wednesday afternoon. Not long after takeoff, attendants on the flight discovered a group of Australian men gathered at the back of the aircraft drinking alcohol they had purchased at the duty free area of Sydney Airport on departure. This is a serious breach of the aviation law governing the flight.
Cabin crew explained that duty free drink could not be legally consumed in flight
The Jetstar cabin crew consistently and politely to point out to the men that their activity was illegal and that they would have to stop. However, in response, they were met by jeers and a failure to cooperate with their requests. As the flight went on, the state of affairs became more serious as the men’s exchanges with the flight crew became more abusive. The cabin crew maintained a polite disposition at all times but insisted on compliance with the law.
Cabin crew announcements on the flight failed to get a response as Australian men became rowdy
The crew eventually raised the ante up making the situation public. They made a number of announcements pointing out the serious nature of the standoff and the absolute prohibition on drinking duty free alcohol on a flight. It failed to dampen the by now high spirits of the group of Australian men who carried on drinking and mocking the crew emboldened even further by their own defiance and the effects of the alcohol.
Captain’s decisive intervention was effective
Finally, the aircraft captain’s voice could be heard by those travelling on the flight. In a calm and measured voice, he explained the situation to the Australian men at the back of the plane. The Captain made it clear that he wished the flight to continue and to avoid any disruption. He then made the position robustly clear to the men by offering them a binary choice. The Captain told them that they had two options. The first was to follow the directions of the flight crew, desist from drinking the prohibited alcohol and abusing the crew on board. The second was that the aircraft would be diverted and that the men would be taken off the flight.
Australian men offered a binary choice
A passenger onboard recorded the Captains message which can hear in a video clip below. ‘I would ask you to refrain from drinking and refrain from abusing the crew,’ the Captain said. The pilot then sets out another option if the men do not obey him. He can be heard saying: ‘Option two I’ll divert the aircraft and offload you.’ The message was stark and clear. The Captain even apologised to the men from putting things so bluntly to them. ‘Sorry for the stern warning but I can’t have my crew in jeopardy,’ he explained.
Key moment came three hours into the flight
The intervention came three hours into the long flight and much to the relief of other passengers on board who had become unnerved by the standoff between the Australian group at the back of the aircraft. The cabin crew, had from the outset, adapted polite attitude to the men and even when making an announcement on the plane simply pointed out that it is illegal to drink duty free alcohol bought at the airport on the flight.
Airline executive commended the Captain and crew. Apologised to passengers over the incident
The flight itself did serve alcohol which could only be purchased and served by the airline’s crew. Following the incident, a spokesman for Jetstar Airways confirmed what happened to the Daily Mail in Australia: ‘’The safety of our customers and crew is our number one priority and we have zero tolerance for anti-social behavior on our aircraft,’ he said. The Jetstar official pointed out that aircraft staff had been specially trained to deal with disruptive customers and to act quickly if a disruption occurs. The executive commended the flight crew and the Captain for bringing the situation under control and offered an apology to other passengers.
Not the first incident on the Sydney to Phuket flight, last incident in 2016 did not end so well
It’s not the first such incident on the same flight. In July 2016, a similar Jetstar flight from Sydney to Phuket had to be diverted to Bali when 6 Australian men became embroiled in a violent flight that erupted while the aircraft was in flight.
Blood everywhere and children screaming as mayhem broke loose in the aircraft cabin
Shocked passengers told how there was blood flying everywhere as 6 Australian men rampaged through the plane. The cabin crew attempted to calm the situation down but nothing could control the men who shocked and frightened other passengers. Young children were heard screaming as a sense of panic took hold within the aircraft cabin.
Flashing lights and security awaited the aircraft at Bali Airport, 6 Australian men taken off
The Captain diverted the flight to Bali were flashing lights and security were waiting to arrest the men and have them deported back to Australia. One of the passengers that day was then 22 year old Romy Papas. She recalled that the man who had provoked much of the confusion ended up taking a punch to the face from his companions. She said that one of the Australians in the group of six had begun to pick on another passenger who had asked him to refrain from disturbing the flight. The bully however was subsequently attacked by one of his friends who violently assaulted him.
Young Australian woman recalled the loud and rowdy men and was grateful to aircraft crew
The young Australian woman told the media that the six Australian man had become loud and rowdy immediately after the flight took off and made other passengers uncomfortable by leaning over seats. They had also used colorful and derogatory language towards the cabin screw staff. The climactic incident came four hours into the flight when mayhem and violence broke out. This prompted the Captain to take drastic action. The Australian woman was full of praise for the professional response of the aircraft crew at all times and grateful to them.
Australian men faced $100,000 legal action
After landing at Bali Airport, the men were then taken off the flight which had nearly 300 passengers on it. The airline was left with a bill from airport authorities in Indonesia caused by the diversion. It promised, after the incident, to pursue the Australian men involved through the courts to compensate the company under the terms of the flights tickets purchased. Some estimates suggest that the incident could have cost upwards of $100,000.
Young Australian men still love Thailand and especially Phuket which is an Aussie favorite
Thailand’s tourist numbers from Australia are holding their own this year with over 312,000 Aussies visiting from January to May this year. It is expected that the 2019 figure will be up on 2018 which was a record year for Thai tourism. Thailand is a particular favorite among young Australians seeking a low cost getaway. Many are young men in search of cheap beer and to indulge in the nightlife on offer in locations such as Patong beach in Phuket. A recent controversy erupted in March when a woman’s rights activist in Brisbane complained about an Air Asia campaign promoting flights to Bangkok’s Don Muang Airport with the caption ‘Get off in Thailand’.
Lads from Australia as welcome as ever
It might not be the new image of Thai tourism but Thai bosses have been fostering. Thailand’s dynamic tourist agency has, for a few years now, been targeting new markets aiming for instance, to bring more western women to Thailand. The successful strategy is to offer a broader and more varied experience. This has been extremely successful as last year’s record number of 41 million visitors to Thailand showed. The Thai tourism chiefs are working hard this year to bolster numbers from western countries with it now being confirmed that the Chinese market is slipping. The lads from Australia are still as welcome as ever.
Many Australians, coming to Thailand, head for Phuket, a large island in the Amdaman sea, which they have made their own. Some hotels in Phuket have become favorite haunts for Aussies and many Thai people working in the hostelry business feel that Australians are a gregarious people, generous and easy to get along with.
Incident on Wednesday flight from Sydney to Phuket quelled by polite but decisive intervention by CaptainA group of Australian men were given a binary choice by a very polite but equally firm Captain who took to the mic to restore order on the flight after the high spirited Aussies refused to quite drinking their own duty free booze and abusing cabine crew. After the annoucement, the men quietened down and behaved properly, arriving on Wednesday night safely at Phuket International Airport. The Captain had promised them no more would be said about it. A passenger recorded the Captain's ultimatum. A similar but more violent incident in 2016 did not end so well. 6 Australian men (including the two shown in photo) were arrested after the same flight was diverted to Bali after 4 hours. They later faced a legal bill of $100,000 for the cost of the disruption. Carla Boonkong reports from Aussie land in Phuket.
Posted by ThaiExaminer.com on Friday, June 21, 2019