Unruly and disruptive passengers are nothing new but we often hear about them in the US. But, what happens when you are unruly on an international flight and cause an emergency landing in another country – where you had already been convicted before for a crime?
Passenger Causes Disruption – And Forces Landing in a Country Where He Had Been Previously Convicted
This morning, Tunisair flight 215 from Istanbul to Tunis had to make an unscheduled landing in Thessaloniki, Greece (and I am just 5 miles from that airport right now) due to what was described as an “alleged disorderly behavior” on the part of a 41 year old Tunisian man. This flight landed this morning – and the interesting part, for me at least, is that I was running under this plane when it was landing! I was out on a run and noticed the plane and was surprised because it is not an airline that you normally see.
Here’s the thing – this passenger had already been convicted on a drug-related charge in Greece once before. And, when the flight landed and police detained him, they found that he was traveling on fake identification.
He is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday morning on the flight disruption charge, the fake ID charge is likely to come later.
Here’s the thing – why anyone would cause a disruption on a plane in the first place is always something that makes me just shake my head. But, how dumb can you be to do that when you are about to fly over a country where you had already been convicted in the past on another crime? I mean, you are headed for your home country and doing so with false documents but now your behavior causes the plane to land in the one place (as far as we know) where you had already been convicted of something.
As for the fake ID, this is something that is very prevalent in Greece over the last few years as refugees/immigrants try to leave the country before receiving their EU refugee documents. I have fiends in the police force and they see it again and again where people are traveling on horribly forged documents or some pretty legit looking ones and they have really been cracking down on this with arrests lately, especially for the smugglers of these people.
But, this is very different from such flight disruptions in the US. In this case, the plane was a Tunis-flagged aircraft departing from Turkey and emergency landing in a Schengen Zone country where, quite likely, many of the passengers on board may not have had visas to visit. In this case, the flight departed just about 12 minutes after arrival, according to Flightradar24 so this wasn’t a problem.
But, earlier last month, a flight had to land at this airport because the captain passed out and the delay on the ground was hours long. This kind of thing can be tough if the passengers are not allowed out of the international area of the airport (and the international area of this airport is small!)