What Can Happen if a Fight Breaks Out in a Airplane?

calvin-yellingI was in the galley when I suddenly heard a commotion from the other side of the curtain. I immediately went out to the aisle to find two women screaming and swearing at each other, one was seated and the other was standing in the aisle. It was quickly escalating and undoubtedly was about to turn physical.

I immediately intervened and said, “Stop!”.

For a moment they stopped, and then both started frantically telling me a “she said/she said” story and then began arguing again. To this I responded, “No. Both of you stop talking. Now. Arguments like this are how planes get diverted.”

I then directed the woman standing in the aisle to go to the galley. I told the woman in her seat to stay there, I’d talk to her about what happened after.

I spoke to both women separately in the Galley. On each of those occurrences one would come up to the galley while I was talking to the other to try and intervene on the other’s story. I’d send that one back to her seat saying “I’m going to hear both side of this separately. Then I’ll talk to you both.

They story that I pieced together was that the woman seated in 2C told the woman in 4A (who was standing in line for the lav at the time) that there was also a washroom in the back. It’s possible 2C may have said this with some attitude as she had been repeatedly bumped by other passengers waiting in line and apparently was already having a bad day as she slipped while was leaving her resort that morning and her ankle was swollen. I think she may have also been annoying others around her throughout the flight as she had apparently been complaining to numourous other passengers on various topics.

Anyway, when 2C told 4A that there are washrooms in the back, 4A apparently took that as “go away” and called 2C “a bitch” at which point 2C called 4A “a bitch” and they continued calling each other “a bitch” until I intervened.

After speaking to both women separately, I briefly spoke to them together. By this time they’d had ample time to calm down. I reiterated the details of what I felt had just happened. They were in agreement for the most part, although they began insisting on small details that make them “right” and the other person “wrong”. I stopped them again and explained, calmly, that they way this entire scenario played out could have resulted in the aircraft diverting and was a very serious situation. No one here was in the “right”. I further explained that I would love for everyone to get along here, but I realize air travel can be stressful, and a 737 is a very tight place to be stuck in for 5 hours. I told them that while they don’t have to like each other, its absolutely unacceptable that they behave this way. They “MUST coexist peacefully on this aircraft”. Even if that meant not speaking to or looking at each other.

At this point they both agreed. Although the woman in 4A kept saying “That’s fine, I’m over it. I’m not bringing it up anymore! I’m not the one talking about this…” and so on. I had to tell her to end this, she needs to stop telling me she’s over it. And then sent them both back to their seats.

A short while later, 4A was back in my galley. She was telling me I could be honest now and tell her it was all “2C’s fault”. I told her I’m not taking anyone’s side, and then quickily changed the subject. I offered her a Coke, which she accepted. I asked her about her ring. Apparently she had just got engaged. I brought up my engagement as well as the engagement of another flight attendant on board, who had been proposed to the day before the flight.

As 4A left, 2C came in. She was concerned at the fact I was smiling and laughing with 4A. I explained she had brought up her engagement and I had begun talking about mine as well. Apparently 2C was also recently engaged, so we talked about that for a short while. I offered her a Coke too, which she declined.

My tactic here was to dampen any heat that was still burning in these two passengers. I was lucky they came to me, although had they not I would have come out to their seats with those Cokes and made small talk. It was important take them off the subject of their argument and really, truly defuse them once and for all.

From that point on they didn’t argue or even talk to each other, and they remained pleasant with all the other passengers.

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