Qatar Airways Flight 962
Qatar Airways Flight 962 is a daily nonstop flight from Hamad International Airport in Doha to Ngurah Rai International Airport on the Indonesian island of Bali. It is usually made by a Boeing 777-300ER. Flight time is 91⁄2 to 10 hours, leaving Qatar around 2:45 a.m. local time and arriving in Bali between 5:30 and 6 p.m.
On 5 November 2017 the flight was forced to divert about an hour after takeoff to Chennai International Airport in India due to an unruly passenger. A woman had begun assaulting her husband after discovering evidence of his extramarital affair on his smartphone, and could not be restrained or calmed down by the flight crew. The couple and their child were taken off the plane after landing, and eventually put on another flight to take them back to Doha; the flight successfully continued to Bali after a delay of several hours.
On the day of the incident, the Boeing 777-300ER making the flight had registration number A7-BEC, with two GE90 engines. It has been used by Qatar Airways since being delivered to the airline in mid-2014 after being assembled at Boeing's plant in Everett, Washington, United States.
The plane left Doha five minutes ahead of schedule. Among the passengers were an Iranian couple with a young child headed for holiday in Bali. The woman had apparently consumed enough alcohol before, and/or at the beginning of the flight, to be described as intoxicated later by flight crew. Their names were not released due to privacy concerns.
The woman's husband, seated next to her, fell asleep an hour into the flight. She had apparently suspected him of infidelity before the flight, so she saw a chance to find proof. The woman picked up her husband's smartphone, took his hand and pressed his index fingertip (or, in the Hindustan Times' account, his thumbprint) against the phone's fingerprint scanner, without rousing him. With the phone thus unlocked, she scrolled through his emails and text messages, where she found evidence of his interactions with other women.
This confirmation of her suspicions angered her, and according to some accounts she began striking him repeatedly. Other reports do not give details, simply referring vaguely to "misbehavior". All accounts agree that after flight crew made repeated efforts to calm her down and defuse the situation, they were unable to do so. The captain thus decided, shortly afterwards, with the plane over southern Iran, that an unruly passenger situation had developed and therefore Flight 962 would have to divert to Chennai International Airport for an emergency landing to put the woman, her husband and their son off before continuing to Bali.
It took almost four hours for the plane to fly across the Arabian Sea and the Indian subcontinent to Chennai. Upon landing just before 10 a.m. local time, the Iranian family was taken off the plane; it resumed its course to Bali afterwards, according to a statement on the incident released by India's Central Industrial Security Force and landed there at 12:25 p.m. After being put off, the Iranians were reportedly held in a detention facility since they did not have Indian visas; however no First Information Report was taken since police did not see any security issue resulting from the incident. At 10:30 p.m. that evening, after the woman had sobered up, the family was put on a Batik Air flight to Kuala Lumpur International Airport, from which they were later returned to Doha. No further incidents involving them were later reported.
A week later, in the Jamaican daily newspaper The Gleaner, attorney Daniel Thwaites recounted the incident. He found two aspects of it worthy of comment on broader social issues.
First, he lamented the entire incident as the inevitable consequence of a decline in social standards around flying, exemplified most significantly by the displacement of business attire, such as the dresses his grandmother reserved only for weddings and funerals in addition to flights, as the preferred clothing for passengers in favor of the casual styles of dress that predominate in the early 21st century. "People are getting far too comfortable flying nowadays, and the habituation is causing disinhibition and bad behaviour," he wrote. "[A]s people have come to see flying as a mere minibus ride, they have taken to travelling in their pajamas, and their attention to their behaviour, as so commonly happens, matches the attention they pay to their dress." He suggested half-seriously that the United Nations "could make itself more useful by turning its attention to matters like outlining proper standards of public behaviour that should apply internationally."
At the same time, however, Thwaites approved of the Iranian woman's decision to respond to her husband's infidelity by beating him. He related the issue to a pending debate in the Jamaican Parliament on banning the use of corporal punishment in the country, a move he took no position on when it applied to banning the practice in schools but felt was overreach when applied to the home. The Iranian woman's battering of her husband was meant not only to be punitive "but also to instill great fear in him so that unforgettable negative reinforcement would give him motivation to tailor his ways ... Discipline, if not supplied from within, must be supplied from without."
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- "Qatar Airways 962, 5 November 2017". FlightAware. 5 November 2017. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
- Selk, Avi (8 November 2017). "How a wife's suspicions of infidelity diverted an entire flight". The Washington Post. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
- Dehghan, Saeed Kamali (8 November 2017). "Qatar Airways plane forced to land after wife discovers husband's affair midflight". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
- Noëth, Bart (7 November 2017). "Qatar Airways flight to Bali diverts to Chennai after woman discovers her husband is cheating on her". aviation24.be. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
- "A7-BEC Qatar Airways Boeing 777-300". Planespotters.net. 10 October 2017. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
- Shekhar, Shashank (7 November 2017). "Woman discovers husband's affair mid-air, Qatar Airways forced to divert flight after ruckus". India Today. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
- Haider, Faizan (7 November 2017). "Wife discovers spouse's affair midair, outburst forces pilot to land". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
- Thwaites, Daniel (12 November 2017). "Spare the rod?". The Gleaner. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
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