Fisticuffs over flatulence: Passenger's wind forces plane to make emergency landing
Jeff Lagerquist, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Tuesday, February 20, 2018 10:48AM EST
Strong wind has forced pilots to make an emergency landing before. Typically, it’s the breeze outside the cabin that’s the problem.
Not so on a Transavia flight from Dubai to Amsterdam on Feb. 11. According to Dutch media, tensions escalated after a passenger allegedly refused to stop passing gas. De Telegraaf reported that two Dutch citizens, two male and two female, were removed from the flight by authorities in Vienna.
Video shot by a passenger in the aftermath of the fart-induced fracas shows police boarding flight HV6902. Police arrived with dogs and removed two sisters and the two men, the British newspaper Metro reported, after alerting authorities to “passengers on a rampage.”
According to multiple reports, the incident began after the two male Dutch passengers asked an individual sitting nearby to stop farting. The flight crew was alerted to the dispute, but did not intervene, Metro reported.
According to Metro, the pilot warned the passenger to curtail the wind-breaking. The altercation continued and a fight broke out. The pilot then made an emergency landing at Vienna International Airport.
The two women removed from the flight told De Telegraaf that they plan to take the budget airline to court because they, “had no idea who these boys are,” and simply, “had the bad luck to be in the same row.”
The New York Post reported that all four passengers have been released from police custody without charges, and said they have been banned from flying with the Dutch carrier in the future.
Transavia said in a statement to the Post that it stands by the actions of its crews.
“Our crew must ensure a safe flight. When passengers pose risks, they immediately intervene. Our people are trained for that. They know very well where the boundaries are. Transavia is therefore square behind the cabin crew and the pilots,” the airline said.
CTVNews.ca’s request for comment from Transvania Airlines was not immediately returned.
Science behind farting in flight
There is a potential scientific explanation behind a sudden flurry of farting while flying. High Altitude Flatus Expulsion (HAFE) is a phenomenon cited in The Western Journal of Medicine that refers to “an increase in both the volume and frequency of the passage of flatus, which spontaneously occurs while climbing to altitudes of 11,000 feet or greater.”
Researchers note the phenomenon is strictly associated with ascent. It is unclear if flight HV6902 was ascending when the incident erupted.