Fight over cellphone forces QantasLink pilot to turn plane around midflight: report

Two passengers allegedly arguing over a cellphone caused a plane to turn around midflight.

A QantasLink flight flying to Canberra, Australia, returned to Sydney after two passengers got into an argument. Authorities met the plane on the tarmac.

The pilot reportedly announced that any altercations between passengers wouldn't be tolerated.

The pilot reportedly announced that any altercations between passengers wouldn't be tolerated. (iStock)

The disagreement was sparked when a passenger refused to power down a phone during takeoff, News.com.au reports. An older man apparently slapped the phone out of the younger passenger’s hands.

A spokesperson for Qantas Airlines, owner of the QantasLink regional airline, confirmed the incident.

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The flight was about halfway to its destination when the pilot decided to turn around, another passenger on the flight claimed in an interview with News.com.au. The passenger said, “We took off and were about halfway to Canberra when the pilot said we would be turning around and heading back to Sydney. He said any passenger altercation won’t be tolerated onboard.”

The passenger, who spoke with the outlet on the condition of anonymity, claims that when the plane landed, “the air hostess opened the doors to the police.”

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In a statement obtained by News.com.au, a spokesperson for the Australian Federal Police said, “AFP officers spoke with staff and a number of passengers in relation to an alleged onboard altercation, however, no charges have been laid at this time. AFP investigations are ongoing and no further comment can be made.”

A spokesperson for Qantas Airlines would not offer further comment.