An unruly passenger onboard a Virgin Atlantic flight flying from London’s Heathrow Airport to Los Angeles International Airport caused the flight to make an abrupt landing in Salt Lake City.
The passenger has been identified as Stephan Hayes, 39, from the United Kingdom. His behavior on Flight 141 caused him to be “physically detained by other passengers and flight crew members.” He was arrested once they landed around 4:30 p.m. local time, Salt Lake City Police in a statement.
“The safety and wellbeing of our customers and crew is always our top priority and we don’t tolerate any behavior that compromises this,” Virgin Atlantic said in a statement.
“We always want our customers to have the best experience when they fly with us and our cabin crew are highly trained to deal with any individuals that may impact that experience for others,” the airline said.
Hayes allegedly assaulted flight crew members and caused at least one other passenger to have minor injuries. He also allegedly kicked airplane seats and windows.
The flight arrived at LAX after about a 4-hour delay from its original schedule time, Virgin Atlantic said.
The Federal Aviation Administration implemented a permanent “zero tolerance” policy this year for unruly passenger cases after a rise in incidents. The FAA reported that so far this year there have been 1,701 reports of unruly passengers, with 582 investigations initiated.
“Behaving dangerously on a plane will cost you; that’s a promise,” Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen said in April.
“Unsafe behavior simply does not fly and keeping our Zero Tolerance policy will help us continue making progress to prevent and punish this behavior,” Nolen said.