A “disgusting” rugby player delayed a 55-minute flight for over 90 minutes before being hauled off the plane for allegedly sexually harassing a stewardess.
The easyJet flight, bound for Belfast, Ireland, was due to take off from England’s Bristol Airport at 12:55 PM. Friday but was forced to stay grounded by a “raucous” group of rugby players.
Passengers said they were “sickened” and “intimidated” by the men — one of whom was escorted off by police for allegedly sexually harassing a female member of the cabin crew.
The drama unfolded as the plane was taxiing to take off after staff had given the safety demo.
Boarding started at 1:10 p.m., but the flight did not depart from Bristol until 3:15 p.m. because pilots were forced to go back to the airport so police could board.
EasyJet customer Rachel Davies said the “horrible” group of 20 to 30 men, in their 40s and 50s, had all been drinking before getting on the flight.
She said: “One of the men got out of his seat, when we were all supposed to have our seatbelts on, and walked down the aisle towards two female members of staff.
“I couldn’t hear what he said to them, but one of the women said, ‘I am treating this as sexual harassment.’
“Then an announcement came over saying that something had happened on board, and the plane would have to return to its parking bay and wait for police.”
Davies added: “It was horrible, it was really dreadful.
“Even at the gate, they were making a real show of themselves.
“Some of them had definitely had a few drinks. They were being so loud you couldn’t hear yourself speak.
“I just had a feeling that something was going to happen on the flight so, as I had priority boarding, I alerted the cabin crew when I got on the flight.”
Davies, 40, from Wales, went on: “They were so loud as they were coming across the tarmac to board the plane, that the pilot even came out of the cockpit to see what the noise was.
“As police escorted him off, the lady in the cabin crew was in floods of tears and was saying that she didn’t feel safe on that flight.
“What sickened me most was that, after we got off the flight, as we were waiting for the carousel to get our bags, all the other men in the group burst into laughter.
“They were saying things like she was only looking for a bit of compensation, and that they’d said worse things to their mothers. One of them said, ‘Let’s get the d–do out.’”
Davies praised easyJet’s “zero tolerance” approach to the man’s behavior but believes Bristol Airport should have done more to stop the men from boarding the flight.
She said: “One man was slurring his words as he spoke. They should have been curbed at the gate before they were allowed to board the flight.”
A spokesperson for Bristol Airport said: “We want all passengers flying from Bristol Airport to have an enjoyable start to their journey, but anti-social behavior by a minority can spoil the experience for everyone.
“Any anti-social behavior by a passenger is not accepted by the Airport or airlines and could result in passengers being refused travel. We will assist the police with their investigations.
“Disruptive behavior on-board an aircraft is illegal and the worst cases can result in fines, travel bans and custodial sentences.”
An easyJet spokesperson apologized for any inconvenience caused.
The spokesperson said: “easyJet’s cabin crew are trained to assess and evaluate all situations and to act quickly and appropriately, to ensure that the safety of the flight and other passengers is not compromised at any time.
“Whilst such incidents are rare we take them very seriously, do not tolerate abusive or threatening behavior onboard.
“We would like to apologize to passengers for the delay and thank them for their understanding.
“The safety and well-being of passengers and crew is always easyJet’s priority.”
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