Flight Diverted After Passenger Refused to Sit Down Without Nuts and Crackers
A United Airlines flight traveling from Rome to Chicago was diverted to Belfast, Ireland, after an American passenger repeatedly refused to return to his seat unless he was served nuts and crackers.
According to William Robinson, the police constable in charge of the case, passenger Jeremiah Mathias Thede stood up within the first 15 minutes of the flight, while the seatbelt sign was still on. When a crew member asked him to return to his seat, Thede refused to do so until he was given the proper snacks.
“Ten minutes later, he got up again, asked for more, and was refused,” according to the BBC. “He then shouted and was abusive.”
Thede then continued to disrupt the flight by blocking aisles, removing luggage from the overhead bins, and behaving in such a way that other passengers felt threatened.
The captain subsequently made the decision to divert the flight, citing Thede’s “erratic behavior.”
Thede, a 42-year-old resident of California, was arrested and accused of endangering the safety of the plane. Thede was also charged with disorderly conduct and assaulting a member of the crew. Thede is slated to appear in court next week via video link, and may be required to reimburse the airline up to £350,000 (approximately $551,000 USD).