A Chicago-bound United Airlines flight that took off from Rome on June 21 didn’t get very far before a disruptive passenger—insistent that flight attendants give him more nuts and snacks—forced a detour. The plane landed in Belfast, Northern Ireland, to off-load the passenger, who was arrested.
Jeremiah Mathis Thede, a 42-year-old from California, has been charged with assault and “endangering the safety of the aircraft,” according to the Telegraph. Thede reportedly left his seat 15 minutes after takeoff to demand snacks from the flight attendants. He sat down after receiving some nuts, but ten minutes later he got up again and demanded more, eventually saying, “I can have as much nuts and crackers as I f****** want.”
The other 260 passengers on the flight should have then been able to continue on to Chicago. But as bad luck would have it, the airplane’s crew “timed out” on the runway—according to United regulations, the crew had worked too many hours in a row to continue flying.
The passengers had to spend the night in the Belfast airport terminal. As one of them posted on Instagram: “Flight from Rome to Chicago got diverted to Belfast. Crew couldn’t work overtime and no hotel rooms available in all of Belfast resulted in all 260 passengers being forced to spend the night in baggage claim.”
Korean Air faced its own “nut rage” scandal last year, when the daughter of the airline’s chairman dressed down staff for improper nut-serving protocol, and ordered a steward to exit a New York-to-Seoul flight. Heather Cho was sentenced to a year in prison but on appeal the jail term was suspended.