Today’s episode in our never-ending series on airplane trips gone astray because of human frailty comes from Asia — though it could just as easily have happened in the skies over Los Angeles or Australia or anywhere else on the planet.
It begins in Doha on Sunday morning, when a married couple boarded a Qatar Airways flight for what the Hindustan Times reported was supposed to be a holiday in Indonesia.
You’ll notice we said “couple.” This should immediately create a sense of tension and foreshadow trouble to come if you’re familiar with past episodes.
Will our holidayers find the kind of trouble that a man and woman got into on a Delta Air Lines flight in last month’s story, when police accused them of having oral sex in their seats? Or will they wind up like a Citigroup vice president and his girlfriend last year — jailed for disorderly conduct on a flight to California?
Not quite. The husband on Qatar Airways Flight 962 fell asleep about an hour after takeoff, according to India Today.
As he drifted into upholstered oblivion, his wife picked up his phone.
(A brief reminder that sleep is no guarantee against calamity. Never forget the bedbug infestation on board British Airways Flight 84.)
The wife carefully lifted her sleeping husband’s index finger and pressed it against the scanner on the phone, according to the Times of India.
She was “a few drinks down by then,” the outlet wrote, as she began to read what was on her husband’s private screen and “realized that he was allegedly cheating on her.”
We can’t find an airplane infidelity story handy in the archives, but once things kick off on a plane, it almost doesn’t matter what started it; almost anything can happen for any reason.
This passenger got upset about a middle seat and ended up in handcuffs. It’s still unclear why this one tried so hard to yank the plane door open in midair, but the end result was a midair brawl with flight attendants and broken wine bottles.
Some reports about the Qatar flight say the wife began to hit her sleeping husband, while others describe shouting and some unspecified “misbehavior” that proved beyond the flight crew’s ability to control.
In any case, Indian federal police told the Times that the pilot had to make a sudden landing at an airport in Chennai, where the couple and their young child were kicked off.
The arrival of a misbehaving passenger into the arms of airport authorities is often the climax of sad plane stories. In May, a sort of rally formed inside a Shanghai airport, as dozens of put-out passengers chanted “Lock him up!” while police escorted a belligerent man off their flight.
Our married couple was in fact held in Chennai, the Hindustan Times reported, though only because they didn’t have Indian visas.
The woman sobered up, discussed who-knows-what with her husband, and the family were eventually returned to Doha without further incident.
A little anti-climactic, as such stories go. But there’s always the next one.