A flight operated by the Icelandic airline PLAY was forced to land in Canada on the way to Baltimore, Maryland in the US to remove an unruly passenger, RÚV and mbl.is report. This is the first time since beginning operations in 2019 that PLAY has had to make an emergency landing due to a passenger disturbance.
Icelandic flight crews are, luckily well-versed in dealing with flugdólgar, or ‘air hooligans,’ and no one was injured in the incident.
“This isn’t the first time that something has come up onboard [a PLAY flight],” confirmed Nadine Guðrún Yaghi, the PR officer for the airline. “But it is the first time that we’ve had to land somewhere because of it.” She continued by saying that the passenger had started by being belligerent and noisy. The flight crew followed all the correct procedures—passengers sitting near the man were relocated, for instance—but the situation escalated to a point where the only viable option was an emergency landing. The incident went as well as it could have, Nadine said, given the circumstances.
According to an announcement issued by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the flight landed in Happy Valley-Goose Bay in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada shortly after 5:00 PM. The air hooligan in question, a 33-year-old American man, was removed from the flight and arrested. He will be charged with assaulting a crew member, as well as “Mischief over $5,000,” i.e., “interference of the flight causing the emergency landing.” He is also being charged under Canada’s Aeronautics Act “for engaging in behaviours that endangered the safety or security of an aircraft and its passengers while in flight.” PLAY is also expected to bring charges against him.