Flight to Israel Turns Back after Disruptive Israelis Give Themselves “Free Upgrade”

FILE - In this July 2, 2021 file photo, a United Airlines jetliner taxis down a runway for take off from Denver International Airport in Denver. United Airlines has been fined, Friday, Sept. 24, 2021, $1.9 million over 25 delayed flights in which passengers were stuck on the ground for at least three hours. It's the largest fine ever imposed by the U.S. Transportation Department for such long delays.(AP Photo/David Zalubowski, file)

NEWARK (VINnews) — A flight from New York to Israel was forced to turn around and head home Thursday, after two Israeli passengers caused a ruckus and disrupted the flight.

The passengers allegedly lashed out at flight attendants after giving themselves a “free upgrade” they were not entitled to.

The United Airlines flight took off from Newark Airport at 11 p.m. Thursday, headed for Tel Aviv, where it was scheduled to arrive on Friday afternoon at 4:20.

Roi Eitan, who was on the flight, told Channel 12 News that over an hour into the flight, the clash took place between the two men and flight attendants.

The plane was half empty, so the pair decided to move to business class. When the crew asked to see their boarding passes for confirmation that they were in the correct seats, they refused to comply. At that point the argument became heated and sparks started to fly.

The flight crew decided to head back. The plane was near the US-Canada border, and arrived at Newark shortly after 1:30 am.

The two passengers were arrested. It was not clear when United planned to reschedule the flight, however for Orthodox passengers at that point, it would not have been possible to travel to Israel before Shabbos.

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