An Italian passenger flying from Abu Dhabi to India Monday was forcibly restrained and arrested after allegedly spitting on and punching flight crew members for denying her a seat in business class.
The woman, identified as 45-year-old Paola Perruccio, was taken into custody in Mumbai, after being tied to a seat aboard a flight operated by the Indian airline Vistara.
Airline officials described Perruccio’s conduct during the three-hour flight as “unruly” and “violent.”
Perruccio had booked an economy-class seat on the plane, but during the flight she jumped out of her assigned seat, ran to business class and settled in an empty seat there, according to a criminal complaint cited by The Times of India.
After the brawl, Perruccio, who was allegedly drunk at the time, removed some of her clothes and began pacing up and down the aisle semi-naked.
When flight attendants tried to calm the woman down, she allegedly yelled at them.
The captain of the plane then ordered to restrain Perruccio, who was tied to a seat at the rear of the plane for the remainder of the flight.
When the flight landed in Mumbai, Perruccio was booked for “an act of endangering life or personal safety,” according to Deputy Commissioner of Police Dikshit Gedam.
According to a local police official, a preliminary medical examination found that Perruccio was inebriated. She was subsequently released on bail of 25,000 rupees, which amounts to around $305.
Perruccio’s attorney in India, Prabhakar Tripath, told BBC News that the allegations against his client were “false.”
He claimed that Perruccio was “uncomfortable” in her economy seat and requested to be moved to a vacant seat in business class, which led to a “disagreement” with the crew about poor service.
He also denied claims that the Italian national was drunk during the flight.