‘Unruly’ Passenger Forces L.A.-Bound Flight to Land in Salt Lake

On a London to Los Angeles flight, passengers had to get involved to control one alleged fool until the plane could drop him with the cops

A Virgin Atlantic flight from London to Los Angeles was forced to make an unscheduled stopover in Salt Lake City on Tuesday thanks to what officials are calling an “unruly passenger” who was arrested after fellow passengers and crew members were left no choice but to take matters into their own hands and show the mile-high miscreant a little old fashioned Sky Law.

As NBC News reports, Flight 141 had been headed from London’s Heathrow Airport to LAX when the passenger became disruptive, a Virgin Atlantic rep said. “The aircraft diverted to Salt Lake City to be met by police authorities.”

The Salt Lake City Police Department said officers with the force’s airport division were called to respond to the incident around 4:30 p.m. local time.

In between, helpful fellow passengers and crew “physically detained” the quarrelsome customer, according to the SLCPD, which identified the unfriendly flier as U.K. national Stephen Hayes.

He is accused of assaulting the flight crew and at least one other passenger which resulted in minor injuries. Hayes also allegedly kicked airplane seats and windows, according to NBC News.

One passenger on the flight told the network he was traveling back from vacation in northern Spain and was seated in the front cabin during the altercation.

“I felt very fortunate because just knowing you had professionals on board who can deal with that sort of thing is great,” he said. “I just think that they’re real heroes in the sky right now putting up with unruly passengers.”

The flight did make it to L.A., arriving about four hours behind schedule, the airline said.

“The safety and well-being of our customers and crew is always our top priority and we don’t tolerate any behavior that compromises this,” the airline stated, adding that the cabin crew was “highly trained to deal with any individuals that may impact that experience for others.”

Virgin also denied earlier reports that Hayes tried to breach the cockpit of the aircraft. The Salt Lake City police also said there was no evidence that Hayes attempted to breach the cockpit.

Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign for our newsletters today