‘Nervous’ passenger sparks Jetstar cancellation

Passengers decided to not fly with Jetstar, following an incident on Tuesday morning.

Passengers decided to not fly with Jetstar, following an incident on Tuesday morning. Photo: Getty

A Jetstar flight has been abandoned after a passenger began “behaving unusually”, sparking alarm among crew.

Jetstar flight JQ501 from Sydney to Melbourne was due to depart at 6am on Tuesday, but was delayed for several hours after the incident with the male passenger.

Jetstar also called Australian Federal Police officers to the aircraft, which was returned to its gate.

Initial reports suggested there was an argument on board about the conflict in Israel, leading eventually to the flight being evacuated.

Sheree Simpson, who was also on board said she saw flight crew talking to a fellow passenger.

“We saw a crew member talking to a passenger and the passenger, yelled out, ‘This is ridiculous. There’s a war going on in Palestine’,” she told Nine’s Today program.

“The crew member said to him, ‘He’s welcome to leave the flight’ and he got up and was getting his bags to leave.”

In a statement to TND, Jetstar denied the flight had been evacuated, saying the airline wanted to “clear up some inaccurate reporting”.

“We can confirm there was no fight onboard, the aircraft was not evacuated, and there was no security risk,” the spokesperson said.

He said the aircraft returned to the gate after crew noticed the passenger’s behaviour. The man then chose not to fly, the airline said.

“We now understand the customer was a nervous flyer and was experiencing anxiety,” the spokesperson for Jetstar said.

Other passengers also decided not to fly after the morning incident.

“We also understand the situation made some other people onboard feel uneasy and they also decided not to continue with their journey,” the Jetstar spokesperson said.

 “As a result of this we had to delay the flight and apologise to customers for the inconvenience.”

Simpson told Today that crew had freely answered passengers’ questions, and while the incident was concerning it was handled well.

“I was quite concerned, you don’t expect this on a domestic flight in Australia,” she said.

“I travel quite a lot. It’s a bit scary – 9/11 just pops into your head straight away when you see passengers disembarking, and things being not normal.”

She said the disruption sparked a “domino effect”, with some passengers upset about the argument then deciding not to travel.

“Because they were talking about the war it made us all very nervous,” a man who was on the plane told Sydney’s 2GB Radio.

Topics: Jetstar
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