A passenger has been filmed swearing and grabbing a pilot by his shirt during a physical altercation at the front of a Virgin Australia plane.
Shocked passengers watched on as the confronting incident unfolded in full view of business class and just outside the cockpit while the plane was stationary at Townsville Airport on Wednesday evening.
The pilot could be heard telling the man to “walk” or they’d “get someone”, but the situation appeared to escalate further before the pilot confirmed “you’re off mate”.
The man could be seen grabbing the pilot’s shirt with his fists as the pilot repeatedly told him to “let go”.
The man yelled expletives as he was pushed backwards towards the plane door and out of camera sight, with the help of a flight attendant and fellow passenger.
“You’re a f***ing idiot,” the man could be heard saying. “I didn’t do nothing c***.”
After what appeared to be another physical scuffle involving the flight attendant, the pilot could be heard giving instructions to “get the cops”.
It was only then the passenger finally said he was leaving.
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The video was uploaded to TikTok by passenger Ben Mckay who claimed the man had “one too many” before their flight to Sydney took off.
He praised the crew for handling the situation “amazingly”.
Others commenting on the video agreed.
One flight attendant said “even though we’re trained for this, it’s still awful to deal with” and said the man would be put on a no fly list.
Another person added: “Damn crew did amazing. They shouldn’t have to deal with this … but damn that female flight attendant was fiercely awesome.”
Virgin Australia said the passenger was removed from the flight for unruly and disruptive behaviour, with police called to the airport and travel restrictions imposed on the man.
“The safety of guests and crew is our number one priority and we have zero tolerance for any type of unruly behaviour on Virgin Australia flights,” a company spokeswoman told news.com.au.
“Incidents are referred to the Australian Federal Police or State Police where appropriate.”
Queensland Police confirmed to news.com.au officers escorted a man from the airport shortly after 7pm. No charges have been laid but the incident is still under investigation.
Australian Federal Police launched Operation Sleigh before Christmas which involved increasing patrols over the festive period at the nine airports it polices to target intoxication, offensive and disruptive behaviour.
AFP responded to almost 20,000 incidents at Australian airports throughout 2022 and has charged more than 360 people.
Townsville Airport is not one of the nine airports AFP is responsible for.