A passenger of European discount airline EasyJet got into a physical confrontation with airport staff while waiting for a delayed flight out of Nice, France.

Pictures and video of the encounter have gone viral, although it's still not clear exactly what happened.

According to a widely circulated picture by passenger Arabella Arkwright, an unnamed male passenger holding a baby was punched in the face by ground staff.

According to Arkwright, tempers flared after a delay of almost 12 hours had inconvenienced the entire planeload of passengers who were trying to fly to Luton, England.

The airline says the worker in question isn't an employee of the airline but rather works for Samsic, a company which provides ground services to special needs passengers.

The company that operates Nice's airport confirms that the incident happened, and that local police were called and continue to investigate.

"Whatever the circumstances, the airport management firmly condemns this incident and has immediately asked that this staff member to be suspended," airport authorities said in a statement.

Both men involved in the altercation are as of yet unnamed.

British newspaper The Sun has video of the incident, which appears to show the man attempt to take a picture of the worker with his cellphone, when the worker slaps it out of his hand. The passenger then shoves the worker, who retaliates by hitting the passenger.