I already wrote about my incredible Oman Air Boeing 787 business class flight from Milan to Muscat. What I haven’t yet shared is what was perhaps the most interesting part of the experience, which is the reason the flight was delayed by around 50 minutes. Nope, it wasn’t because of a late inbound aircraft, or a maintenance issue, or an air traffic control delay. Instead…
In this post:
Commotion in Oman Air business class
My flight was operated by an Oman Air Boeing 787-9, featuring five rows of business class. There are four rows in the forward cabin, and then there’s a mini-cabin behind the second set of doors, where I was seated.
About 15 minutes before our scheduled departure time, after everyone had boarded, I suddenly heard a man at the front of the plane screaming very loudly. I saw several crew members run toward the forward cabin, and then maybe 30 seconds later, someone yelled “polizia.” Then maybe another 30 seconds later, I heard clapping (presumably from other passengers) in the forward cabin.
At this point the lovely cabin manager pulled the curtain right in front of my seat, so that we wouldn’t be “disturbed” by the situation, I guess. She looked at me, and said “sorry sir, we are actually having some commotions.” You don’t say!
The entire situation was so loud and absurd that I honestly wondered if I was misinterpreting what was going on, but nope…
The police got involved to offload passengers
Within about five minutes of the incident, two police officers showed up on the aircraft. Stood in the galley by the second set of doors were the two police officers and the two business class passengers who I guess were involved in this incident.
The police had the passports of the two travelers, and there was a lot of radioing going on, with police writing down lots of information. I was surprised by how drawn out this was. I’m not sure if both of the men were sharing their version of events, or what. The police and the two passengers continued to stand there for a total of around 30 minutes, up until 20 minutes past our departure time.
At that point the two passengers were offloaded. Passengers in economy seemed irritated about the lack of updates with the delay, which I can’t blame them for. At the same time, the crew was in a tough position, because what exactly can they announce?
20 minutes past our scheduled departure time, the captain finally made an announcement, apologizing for the delay, explaining it was “due to offloading two passengers.” We were then delayed roughly 30 additional minutes, as the luggage of the passengers had to be taken off the aircraft.
I have to give the crew credit for not making a big deal of this and trying to downplay the situation, pretending like nothing was going on. I tried to get some information out of them in a roundabout way, but they were tight-lipped. Impressive!
I’ve witnessed a lot of stuff in my many years of frequent flying, though I’ve never had a substantial delay due to two passengers getting into a fight… or something. I’m still not sure what exactly happened, other than very loud yelling, followed by “polizia,” followed by clapping, followed by two police officers showing up, followed by two passengers and their bags being offloaded.
Usually I like to sit in the mini-cabin because it’s a bit quieter, though this is a case where I would’ve been curious to see the action. The guys should probably be grateful that they decided to misbehave in Italy rather than in the Middle East, because I imagine there could be a lot more consequences there…