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11th Jun 2018

Flight from Belfast to Ibiza redirected due to drunk and aggressive passenger

The man has received a lifetime ban from the airline

Kate Demolder

The man has received a lifetime ban from the airline

A Jet2 flight to Ibiza was forced to divert to a French airport after a drunk and disorderly man exposed himself and became aggressive before being taken into custody by police.

Flight LS397 from Belfast to Ibiza was diverted on Friday 8 June to Toulouse Airport due to behaviour that the airline is describing as “deplorable” from a “particularly disruptive customer.”

In a statement released by the airline, a Jet2 spokesperson said:

“The customer, Mr. McDowell, travelling with a group was aggressive to both crew and fellow customers on board, something which will not be tolerated.

“Unfortunately his behaviour was particularly unnecessary towards one of our crew and he was also aggressive and unruly in the vicinity, where other families with young children and customers were sitting.

“In consultation with the captain we had to take the unusual decision to divert the aircraft as the situation on board escalated and he was taken off the aircraft with the assistance of the police in Toulouse.

“It’s is very clear that consuming alcohol illicitly contributed to this behaviour and as part of our ‘OnBoard Together’ approach we will continue to call for action to better control the sale and consumption of tax free goods purchased at airports,” the statement concluded.

JOE spoke to Press Manager, James Pieslak who confirmed the rarity of such situations.

“It’s very rare that this happens, instances of disruptive passenger behaviour. We do see them, but it very rarely gets to this.

“It means that what was supposed to be a three hour flight, took almost six hours in the end. So passengers roughly spent two or three hours in Toulouse – with the plane in taxi, accommodating police and so on.

“I presumed [Mr. McDowell’s] been taken into custody by French police, but yes he is banned for life and can’t fly with us again.

“I understood that he was travelling as part of a group. He exposed himself in front of everybody. One dad was very very very upset by it. I think [part of the reason the flight was diverted was] his reaction after he exposed himself, as he became very aggressive. At that point they had to alert the captain, who took the decision to redirect the aircraft.

“A couple of his group managed to sit him down and restrain him, but at that point, the guys have no alternative.”

The redirecting of such a flight has high costs, such as the cost of fuel alone, and Pieslak confirmed that the airline plans to recover these costs from the individual.

Phil Ward, managing director at said: “We will not under any circumstances tolerate this type of disgraceful behaviour onboard our aircraft.

“Fellow customers and families travelling for a well earned holiday should not be subjected to this sort of behaviour and we sincerely apologise to all the other customers on that flight,” he continued.

“We will be taking further action in support of our crew to ensure Mr. McDowell is held accountable for his actions and indeed Mr. McDowell has already received a lifetime ban from future Jet2 flights. Our OnBoard Together campaign will continue to be a priority for us.”