Drunken passengers often give air crews trouble, but Russia's leading airline on Tuesday reported an "unprecedented" reversal: A passenger was assaulted by intoxicated flight attendants.

Two crew members on a domestic Aeroflot (search) flight beat up a passenger who had complained that the flight attendants were drunk, airline spokeswoman Irina Dannenberg said.

The passenger, identified only as A. Chernopup, was aboard a recent flight from Moscow (search) to the Siberian city of Nizhnevartovsk, Dannenberg said. She said the crew belonged to another airline, Aviaenergo (search).

Seeing that the crew were intoxicated and were not fulfilling their duties, Chernopup asked to be served by a sober and competent flight attendant, Dannenberg said. He was then beaten up by crew members.

On Russian flights, attendants often have to struggle to keep intoxicated passengers under control. But on this flight, Dannenberg said, flight attendants were so intoxicated that they "behaved improperly" and only began catering to passengers 1 1/2 hours into the four-hour trip.

The daily Izvestia quoted another passenger as saying that half of the food the crew served ended up on the floor, leaving the aisle strewn with debris that passengers had to walk over as they disembarked.

According to the passenger, Chernopup left the plane with a black eye and was promptly sent to a doctor. Izvestia also reported that a criminal case was opened after Chernopup reported the incident to the police.

Dannenberg said that the plane was carrying out an Aeroflot flight, but both the aircraft and the crew belonged to Aviaenergo. Aeroflot has been contracting out from Aviaenergo since August 2003, but the incident prompted it to tighten control over Aviaenergo's staff, she said.

The entire crew of the flight has been temporarily dismissed and a joint commission is investigating the incident, Dannenberg said.