A fight broke out on a Thai Smile flight earlier this week. I’m not sure what’s more ridiculous — the reason for the fight, or the fact that the plane proceeded to take off without offloading anyone.
Pre-takeoff fight on Thai Smile flight from Bangkok
This incident happened on Monday, December 26, 2022, on a Thai Smile flight from Bangkok, Thailand (BKK), to Kolkata, India (CCU). The flight was operated by an Airbus A320 with the registration code HS-TXT. For those not familiar, Thai Smile is a leisure airline that’s a subsidiary of Thai Airways.
In the roughly 50-second video posted online, you can see one man standing up from his seat, with a crew member standing near him. Then several more passengers, as well as another crew member, approach as well.
I’m not sure what exactly is being said, but suddenly the passengers gang up on the one guy, and start to beat him up. I know this flight was on December 26, but I think they were taking the whole “Boxing Day” thing a little too literally.
Based on the video, there’s not much context. Fortunately we now know the backstory, and it’s stranger than I could have imagined.
What’s the backstory for this fight on Thai Smile?
So, what caused this fight on Thai Smile? According to NDTV, here’s what the airline states happened:
- Prior to takeoff, a passenger was refusing to put his seat in the upright position; the man allegedly claimed he had a backache
- The crew explained the safety rationale for why his seat needed to be placed upright, and explained that the captain would need to get involved if he didn’t follow instructions, as the plane would have to return to the gate
- At this point other passengers became frustrated by this man’s antics and the risk of having to return to the gate, and took matters into their own hands, yelling at him and hitting him
- Once the violence stopped, passengers took their seats, and the flight took off for India, where it landed 2hr24min later
- The airline claims no passengers suffered any serious injuries; the passengers involved in the incident weren’t served any alcoholic drinks on the flight, and there were no other disturbances during the flight
- The two passengers who were spotted taking videos of the assault were requested to delete them (though clearly they either didn’t follow those instructions, or others took video as well)
There’s quite a bit to unpack here:
- Some people are so self-centered and delusional — I’m sorry you’re having back pain, but that doesn’t mean you can violate the safety regulations that are in place all around the globe; what a jerk
- As it turns out, the people trying to beat up their fellow passenger were just trying to be good samaritans and were trying to help the flight get underway, or something
- Maybe I’m just too American here, but I find it shocking that a flight would take off after there’s this level of disobedience to crew instructions and violence on the ground; if a passenger repeatedly refuses to follow crew member instructions, and if a physical fight breaks out on the ground, what makes the crew think this wouldn’t happen once airborne?
A passenger on a Thai Smile flight refused to put his seat upright for takeoff, claiming he had back pain. Despite the crew insisting, he refused to follow instructions. Other passengers then rallied to “support” the crew by… beating up the man.
Apparently that did the trick, as the traveler then cooperated, and the flight could take off as planned. There’s so much about this story that’s so strange…
What do you make of this Thai Smile incident?