Flight crew aboard an easyJet flight en route to Luton Airport from Tel Aviv were forced to contact police mid-flight when a group of Haredi men began causing chaos as they refused to sit next to women.
According to a report in the Mail Online, the men began blocking the aisles until they were reseated while the plane was 30,000ft in the air during the flight that one steward described as the ‘worst in 11 years.”
One man began plugging a phone into the plane’s control panel, risking the flight’s safety, while in an attempt to aggravate the flights hosts, hostesses, and passengers alike, the disruptive group rang the service button repeatedly.
'They were constantly ringing the bell for the steward. I've never heard it go off so many times. It was dinging constantly and to the point it was really intrusive if you are trying to read or something,” one witness told Jewish News.
The witness described the commotion caused by around ten Haredi men as “absolute bedlam.”
'It was infuriating to witness both for passengers and for the stewards, who tried but failed to control them.”
The helpless witness said that the task of calming the situation and forcing them back to their seats proved impossible.
'I was next to quite an elderly gentleman and he did not sit down the entire time,” the passenger recalled.
“Everybody had to walk round him, he was just oblivious, because he was trying to swap his seat, so he wouldn't be sitting next to a woman.'
When one frustrated woman decided to agree to swap her seat in order to pacify the ultra-Orthodox passengers, the man who took her seat did not even acknowledge her deed.
'I chatted to her later on. She just couldn't believe the whole thing and they didn't even say thank you,” the witness said. 'That was something the staff mentioned as well, that they did not say please or thank you.'
When the plane finally landed, police officers were waiting on the tarmac at the airport and urged passengers to remain in their seats.
“One policeman then came on the plane, stood by the door and oversaw everybody leaving—and there were two more officers standing on the tarmac.'
The airline issued a statement mentioning “a small group of passengers behaving disruptively, by not complying with the captain and cabin crew's request to take their seats, both prior to departure from Tel Aviv and during the flight.
“For the safety of all passengers easyJet's crew must ensure that whenever the seat belt signs are illuminated all passengers are in their seats with their seatbelts fastened.
“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.
“Separately during the flight a passenger plugged a mobile device into a USB port on the crew control panel in the forward galley in a foolish attempt to charge it.
“This led to the exit light above the panel being illuminated but did not in any way compromise the safety or security of the aircraft.”
Despite the chaos caused, the Bedfordshire Police said issued a statement saying that no offense had been caused by the disorderly men.