A series of delays on a Kulula flight from Durban to Johannesburg saw tempers flare on Sunday night, as one passenger was removed from the aircraft for alleged “unruly conduct”. Earlier this week, video footage emerged of a scuffle between a passenger and police officers aboard the plane. In a statement, Kulula said police had been summoned after “the customer concerned became physically and verbally abusive towards the cabin controller and captain”. But eyewitnesses on the flight disputed the airline’s claims.
In a video circulated on social media – then shared by the Crime Air Network three airport police officers attempt to coax the woman off the plane. They are ultimately unsuccessful in their attempts, as she stands her ground and refuses to go anywhere.
Eventually, she was prized from her row and was detained at King Shaka. The whole ordeal – from embarking the plane to being forcibly removed from it – went on for over five hours. The flight was eventually cancelled, causing a travel nightmare for all passengers involved.
‘Unruly’ Kulula passenger dragged off flight
Fellow passenger Sanele Gumede said the flight bound for Johannesburg was scheduled to depart at 21:55 on Friday, but the aircraft only left after 03:00 on Saturday. Kulula attributed the delay to a weather disruption. “One passenger was upset, she went and confronted the captain!”. Then the captain got irritated and announced that he wants her to be escorted out immediately, everyone was like ‘hell no’!” he said. One passenger shouted to leave her alone while another said she has all the rights to complain. This went on for mostly two hours and 20 minutes before they were told that the flight had been cancelled. The “lady” refused to left and were dragged from the flight of stairs.
After the passengers got off the plane, they were instructed to board again and the aircraft departed for Johannesburg at around 03:00. Kulula said the captain felt the safety of customers and crew might be compromised and therefore cancelled the flight. “The situation escalated after the police came on board, to the point where the captain felt the safety of customers and crew might be compromised. He made the decision to cancel the flight,” the airline said. “Once all the customers had disembarked and the unruly customer was escorted away from the group by the police, the captain again assessed the situation. “He decided it was safe to operate the service. The customers boarded the aircraft and the flight took off,” and landed in Johannesburg at 04:20 on Saturday.
Fellow commuters of the passenger who was forcibly removed from a Kulula flight during the early hours of Saturday, insist that the woman did nothing wrong.
Three police officers are seen confronting the woman on the aircraft. One officer attempts to pull her out of her seat and a brief struggle ensues. Other passengers stand up to defend the woman. According to the airline, the passenger had been “unruly“.
“The captain decided to disembark the aircraft after a customer became unruly and refused to leave the flight after failing to comply with instructions from both the crew and the police,” Kulula said in a statement.
“The flight had been delayed because of a weather disruption to an earlier flight.”
Fellow passenger Sanele Gumede said the flight bound for Johannesburg was scheduled to depart at 21:55 on Friday, but passengers only boarded the aircraft at 01:00 on Saturday. One passenger was upset, she went and confronted the captain! The cops were called in and the drama dragged on until 3am,
“Our crew have the right to work without being verbally or physically abused,” the airline said.
Aan die einde is die vlieënier en sy bemanning verantwoordelik vir die vlug en alle passasiers. Niemand bestel slegte weersomstandighede nie. Die vlieënier is die verantwoordelike persoon vir die vliegtuig se vertrek, in samewerking met die lughawe reëls wat nagekom moet word. Daar is protokol in plek en ons moet onthou, die vlieënier het ‘n verantwoordelikheid teenoor alle passasiers.
Verseker is almal ontsteld as ‘n vliegtuig vertraag word as gevolg van weersomstandighede, wat buite die vlieënier se beheer is om te mag vlieg. Selfs die lughawe bestel ook nie slegte weer nie. Daar is goeie redes hoekom vliegtuie vertraag word.