The 7 craziest in-flight incidents of 2021, from viral fights to ejections

June 17, 2021 | 7:30pm | Updated

It’s the year of the airplane meltdown.

With tight COVID-19 rules in place because of the ongoing pandemic, airlines have experienced a surge in violent, outrageous and sometimes downright dangerous behavior by frazzled passengers.

Here’s just seven of 2021’s craziest incidents, from viral fights and mask meltdowns to crazed flight attendants and ejections:

Men booted from flight over armrest argument

On my first flight in 15 months, of course we were rerouted back to the gate because two passengers got into a physical altercation over elbow placement upon arm rests.

— Jack Krawczyk (@JackK) June 13, 2021

Two men had to be escorted off a United Airlines plane in San Francisco on June 11 after a fight over elbow room.

The pair was reportedly detained after exiting the plane, according to local media — but neither was injured nor sought to press charges.

One social media user offered some simple rules for airplane armrests in response:

“Aisle gets the outside arm rest and some leg and body room. Middle gets two arm rests and window gets the armrest and window/wall to lean on,” @buckshow8 wrote.

Drunk passenger headbutts flight attendant

A passenger on a Ryanair flight headbutted a flight attendant after being asked to wear to a face mask.

Flight attendants have been on the receiving end of much of 2021’s airplane chaos.

In January, a drunk traveler on a Ryanair flight from Tenerife to Manchester in the UK reportedly head-butted a flight attendant after being told to wear a face mask.

“F—- off! I’m going to punch you — going to smash your head in!” the boozed-out menace yelled before his attack.

Daniel Hendry, 24, also gave a fascist salute, tried to hug a female crew member and grabbed a mask off another flyer’s face, according to The Sun.

He was sentenced in March to 14 months in jail after pleading guilty to boarding an aircraft while drunk, criminal damage and assault, according to the report.

Southwest flight attendant gets teeth knocked out

Sacto-San Diego-Dallas-Miami ✈️ Can we go any further in the US? Just witnessed a woman punch a flight attendant. 😳 5 hr delay so far…but I don’t worry about what I can’t control & just enjoy the precious time w/Koki, our future hope! #PeacefulMind

— Taro Arai (@MikuniTaro) May 23, 2021

A Southwest crew member lost two teeth on May 23 when passenger Vyvianna Quinonez, 28, allegedly socked her in the face — reportedly after the attendant asked the woman to wear her mask as the flight de-planed in San Diego.

Southwest banned Quinonez, who faces a felony charge of battery causing serious bodily injury for the incident, according to reports.

One woman who was sitting two rows away told local station Fox 40 that the flight attendant escalated the situation.

“Vyvianna had said to her three times, that we could hear, ‘Get off of me. Quit touching me. Get your hands off of me,’” Michelle Manner told Fox 40. “It was so unnecessary.”

Woman clobbers male travel companion with her phone, which “explodes

A woman aboard a June 9 flight from Dallas to Fort Lauderdale clobbered her male travel companion with a cellphone which then “exploded” into flames, passengers said.

The flight was forced to make an emergency landing in Pensacola, where the couple were escorted off the plane by cops.

“Everyone kind of went crazy and then all of a sudden we see smoke and I heard the words ‘fire’ and then next to us there was the object literally smoking,” said passenger Katie Engelson. “It was definitely very, very frightening.”

Plane erupts in applause as flight crew boots an alleged mask refuser

Viral TikTok video in April showed an entire plane full of Southwest Airlines customers gleefully cheer and clap after the removal of a woman accused of breaking federal mask rules.

The woman denied the apparent allegations against her — but was drowned out by boos and shouts of “Bye” from other passengers.

When the crowd applauded, she flipped them the middle finger.

Unhinged man attempts to breach cockpit, forces emergency landing

A Delta flight to Tennessee was forced to land in New Mexico last week after an unhinged passenger reportedly tried to break into the cockpit.

A Delta flight from Los Angeles to Tennessee made an emergency landing in New Mexico on June 4 after an unhinged flyer attempted to break into the cockpit.

Video of Asiel Norton being hogtied after his attempted break-in showed him being restrained by three men while crying out “you gotta stop this plane” at least 25 times.

Norton was taken into custody in Albuquerque, N.M., and faces federal charges for interfering with a flight attendant by assault or intimidation, CBSLA reported.

Off-duty flight attendant in helmet and kneepads screaming “Help me, Jesus!”

The frantic footage from inside Delta Flight 1730 from Los Angeles to Atlanta shows several passengers and crew members struggling to contain the “unruly” off-duty worker.
Steve Denton via Storyful
The Delta employee screamed, “Help me, help me, Jesus!”
Steve Denton via Storyful

An off-duty Delta Airlines flight attendant wearing a helmet and kneepads tried to commandeer a plane’s PA system on June 11, before being taken down by fellow passengers.

The man, who one flyer described as “very tense, very adrenaline-fueled,” allegedly said he was “going to take the plane down” — forcing Delta Flight 1730 from Los Angeles to Atlanta to make an emergency landing in Oklahoma City.

As he was held down, the Delta employee screamed, “Help me, help me, Jesus!” the off-duty flight attendant screamed. “Help me, Jesus! Somebody help me! Somebody help me!”