Bangkok: An AirAsia flight from Thailand to China returned midway to Bangkok after an angry Chinese female passenger assaulted a flight attendant by splashing hot water at her and threatening to blow up the plane, the airline said on Friday.
The woman and her male friend were on-board Thai AirAsia (TAA) flight, bound for Nanjing in east China, with 174 passengers and four cabin crew yesterday evening when the incident happened.
The couple, part of a group tour, was apparently angry at not being seated together.
The woman bought a bowl of noodles and asked for hot water, which she reportedly splashed on the flight attendant's face.
"An unidentified female passenger assaulted the flight attendant with the hot liquid after becoming dissatisfied with the service," a statement from the airline said.
"The captain of the flight decided to return the plane to Don Mueang Airport deeming her actions as endangering to other passengers and impeding in-flight service," the statement added.
Eyewitnesses said after the verbal spat with the cabin crew the man threatened to blow up the plane, while his girlfriend said she wanted to kill herself.
The incident forced the captain to return to Don Mueang airport and the couple were asked to disembark.
Police later took the couple and their two friends to Don Muang police station where they settled the dispute with the flight attendant and the captain.
A TAA spokesman said today the Chinese woman was allowed to leave Thailand this evening on a TAA flight back to Nanjing after she agreed to pay an undisclosed amount of compensation to the affected cabin attendant.
The TAA cabin attendant was not seriously injured. She had been treated and was now "okay".
Chinese tourist overseas have developed a reputation for bad behavior, so much so that Chinese government has drawn up a list of do's and don'ts for its citizens travelling abroad that include guidelines against spitting in public, allowing children to defecate in public and spitting publicly.
During a recent trip to Maldives, China's President Xi Jinping has also asked his fellow countrymen not to behave improperly while abroad.
"We should teach our people to behave properly when traveling abroad," Xi has told a meeting of Chinese embassy staff in Maldives.