Norwegian woman held for punching KLM flight crew, disrupting flight
A Norwegian couple accused of causing trouble on a KLM flight from Amsterdam to Panama were arrested when the plane landed to Panama, and returned to the Netherlands under police escort. The flight crew said the woman punched the purser, tried to kick her in the face, yank her hair, and spat at the co-pilot.
While the man was freed for insufficient evidence in a Tuesday arraignment hearing, the woman was remanded into custody at least until the next court status hearing on January 18.
Trouble on the flight started on January 5 while the KLM aircraft was over the Atlantic Ocean. The flight crew refused to serve the couple more alcohol, which prompted the 33-year-old man to threaten the crew and his 26-year-old female companion to throw a cup at the purser while cursing and shouting at her, the prosecutor stated.
The woman then marched to the galley demanding alcohol. That's when she violently lashed out at the purser. A fellow crew member had to step in to separate the two.
KLM's commanding officer on the flight ordered the woman restrained. The cabin crew spent ten hours dealing with the woman, and wore oven mats because she kept thrashing and trying to bite them. During that time she apparently also tried to spit on the co-pilot.
As soon as the plane landed in Panama, the couple was handed to the authorities who sent them back Schiphol under police escort. There they were handed over to the Koninklijke Marechaussee, the Dutch branch of the military tasked with airport security and border operations.
The Marechaussee took the couple into custody on January 6. The prosecutor said they planned to treat the case very seriously due to the disruption and threat to other passengers, and the interference with a flight crew for nearly the entire duration of the flight.
KLM flight 757 from Amsterdam to Panama City was in the air for nearly 11 hours on January 5. The flight arrived at the gate at 4:13 p.m., roughly 20 minutes earlier than expected.