Two passengers who had allegedly consumed a "significant quantity" of alcohol caused a Sunwing flight from Toronto to Cuba to return to the airport under a military escort after they smoked in the bathroom, tripped a fire alarm, got into a fight, and made a "threat against the aircraft."
Lilia Ratmanski, 25, and Milana Muzikante, 26, were charged with smoking on board an aircraft and endangering its safety, the Associated Press reports.
Two fighter jets escorted the plane back to Toronto after the pilot turned it around over South Carolina. From the AP:
[Sunwing vice-president Janine Chapman] said they lit a cigarette, triggering the smoke alarm, and "proceeded to get into a physical altercation with each other and made a threat against the aircraft."
NORAD (North American Aerospace Defence Command) said it scrambled two CF-18 fighter jets based out of Quebec, Canada, to escort Flight 656 back to Toronto.
Major Julie Roberge, a spokeswoman for NORAD, said the CF-18s met the aircraft at the Canadian border and did not venture into American airspace.
According to a local constable, fellow passengers "erupted in cheers" as Ratmanski and Muzikante were pulled off. This marks the third time this week a plane was diverted after a fight among passengers: Wednesday, a Miami-to-Paris flight landed in Boston after two passengers fought over a reclining seat, and Friday, a Newark-to-Denver landed in Chicago after a fight broke out over a "knee defender."
However you feel about reclining versus legroom, your own personal comfort versus that of your fellow passenger, or whatever Ratmanski and Muzikante were fighting about, know this: If you participate in a fight that makes a plane touch down in a different destination ahead of schedule, you're always an asshole.
[Image via Sunday Morning Herald/Facebook]