Drunk passenger handed to police after Jet2 flight from Leeds diverted

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A flight from Leeds Bradford Airport to sunshine destination Alicante had to be diverted to France on Friday after a passenger became drunk and abusive, an airline said.

The Jet2 plane was forced to land at Toulouse in southern France – nearly 500 miles from its intended destination – following problems shortly after take-off.

The man, who was among a party of 14, refused repeated requests to stop drinking alcohol or using intimidating language and threatening behaviour, Jet2 said.

He has now been banned from the airline for life.

Jet2 managing director Phil Ward said he could also face prosecution and expensive legal costs.

He said: “Due to his unacceptable behaviour on board, the pilot diverted the flight to Toulouse where the disruptive passenger was handed over to the police authorities and the remaining travellers continued on to Alicante.

“As well as delaying holidaymakers, he could now be facing prosecution for his behaviour and could be found liable for the costs of the divert, which will run into thousands of pounds.”

He said the several other passengers had praised the actions of the airline following the incident.

It came as the company announced a “zero-tolerance” approach to bad behaviour on flights following an industry-wide rise in incidents.

Bosses said anyone guilty of racist or threatening conduct or excessive drinking could face prosecution and a lifetime ban.

Mr Ward added: “We will not allow our customers’ holidays to be upset by an individuals’ obnoxious behaviour.

“Passenger welfare is and always will be our number one priority which is why we have brought in these measures to take action against anyone who causes offence and disruption to our passengers and crew.

“We will not hesitate to prosecute individuals where necessary.”