Qantas flight QF9 to Heathrow was almost 1,000 miles into its 9,000-mile journey, with passengers settling down for a very long overnight trip, when a man in the economy cabin, believed to be aged about 30, suddenly stood up and started shouting. One passenger described him acting in “an extremely aggressive manner”. It was reported that this man locked himself in one of the toilets for about an hour. When he came out he started acting really aggressive and it looked like he was going to attack another one of the passengers. The crew managed to calm him down after a few minutes and took him to the back of the plane.
With around two hours of the flight completed, the options open to the flight crew were to continue to London with the passenger restrained; to divert, probably to Singapore; or to return to Perth. Carrying on to Heathrow would have placed extra pressure on cabin crew and risked further disruption. Any diversion on this ultra-long-haul flight means the crew will not have enough hours remaining to complete the journey, though touching down at Singapore, about three hours’ flight time away, would have allowed some passengers to reach London on other flights without too much delay. Instead, the captain decided to return to Perth, where the flight landed almost four hours after the original take-off.
The disruptive passenger was been issued with an interim ‘no fly ban’ which means they are unable to travel on Qantas Group flights until the investigation into the matter is completed. The remaining passengers were given hotel rooms overnight, the meals on board were thrown away and the 17-hour flight to London finally took off 18 hours late.