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Punches thrown, vodka downed and music blared on chaotic Ryanair flight to Malta

RTÉ reporter Kieran Dineen has said several brawls broke out during the flight.
May 2nd 2019, 7:42 AM 174,625 76

AN RTÉ REPORTER has described a chaotic and at times “quite scary” Ryanair flight from Dublin to Malta during which drunken fights broke out amongst passengers who were headed for a dance festival.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, reporter Kieran Dineen recalled how many of the young people on the Malta-bound flight were “inebriated” before take-off and that it was only when the airplane was on the runway did he realise that 150 of the 180 passengers on the flight were heading to a dance festival on the Mediterranean island. 

Several brawls broke out during the flight, said Dineen, who described how one man was “pinned to the ground” for a large part of the flight by two other men so he could be kept under control. 

“There were punches thrown, one man was held up to the window of the plane by his neck. So it was quite a scary experience, especially for those people not interested in the dance festival,” he said.

“There were some going to the dance festival who behaved themselves but of the 180 on the flight there was quite a number who were unruly.”

The Dublin-Malta flight was late taking off, Dineen said, as people were jumping in and out of their seats with some passengers shouting at the stewards or giving them “hand gestures to show that they weren’t really interested in what they thought”. 

It was when the flight did eventually take off “to the sound of dance music which was blaring all over the plane” that “the real messing really started,” Dineen said. 

‘They kept serving alcohol’

“Huge groups congregated at both bathrooms mainly because the drinks carts were there and they bought many, many drinks and there was huge bottles from duty-free were opened, bottles of rum, bottles of vodka, bottles of whiskey and were being downed on the plane,” Dineen said. 

“There was one man handing out a big bottle of vodka for people to take sups out of. So it was quite scary because there was always the chance that things would spill over, thankfully things didn’t quite spill over but really there was an opportunity that they could”. 

The RTÉ reporter said the Ryanair staff on board the chaotic flight were “very slow in dealing with the problem.”

“They seemed to think there was little they could do except advise people to turn down their radios. I didn’t witness any of them trying to take the glass bottles away from people, they kept serving alcohol on the flight for an hour and a half despite it being obvious that there was an issue considering there was so much alcohol already on people.”

When – about halfway through the flight – staff did try to get the situation under control “it was just too late, because it had all got too much out of hand,” Dineen said. 

“There was pushing and shoving and there was fights breaking out, there was shouting and roaring along the aisles.”

The airline has since issued a statement saying that “crew on Dublin to Malta flight requested police assistance upon arrival after several passengers became disruptive in flight, the aircraft landed normally and the police removed and detained these individuals.”

The airline has said it would “not tolerate unruly or disruptive behaviour at any time and the safety and comfort of our customers, crew and aircraft is our number one priority. This is now a matter for local police”. 

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Cónal Thomas

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