Caribbean Airlines probes passenger outburst

The erratic behaviour of a woman who boarded a Caribbean Airlines flight in Toronto is now under investigation, CBC News has learned.
A Caribbean Airlines spokesperson says that a popular Jamaican entertainer helped calm a passenger who displayed erratic behaviour on a recent flight that departed Toronto. (CBC)

The erratic behaviour of a woman who boarded a Caribbean Airlines flight in Toronto is now under investigation, CBC News has learned.

The incident occurred on a Kingston-bound flight that departed from Toronto on Monday.

Passengers recorded video of a woman on the flight yelling at other people, leaving her seat and at one point brandishing a nail file.

Clint Williams, the head of corporate communications for Caribbean Airlines, has viewed some of the video that has been posted online by passengers.

"It was disturbing," Williams said in a telephone interview with CBC News on Thursday.

Williams said the videos do not make clear the timing of the events on the flight, so it cannot be determined how long the behaviour persisted.

But he said the airline is reviewing information it has received from its crew members, so that it can determine exactly what happened.

Williams said the early reports the airline has gathered indicate that "there was an initial disturbance from this passenger, but then she settled down."

It appears that a subsequent outburst occurred on the way to Jamaica.

"Then it was about an hour and a half into the flight, almost two hours into the flight … this further disturbance came up."

Crew members began to discuss what to do, as the woman’s behaviour began to unnerve other people on the flight.

"We had persons literally running from their seats. Kids were crying, big adults were crying, people were horrified," said passenger Sweets Lawrence, when describing to CBC News what she saw on the flight.

Williams said some "tie straps" were retrieved, which could have been used to restrain the passenger in her seat.

However, a well-known Jamaican entertainer named Luciano was also a passenger on the same flight and he offered to intervene before that step was taken.

"He volunteered to go and have a chat with the woman and, you know, use some of his star power and hopefully calm her down, rather than see her be put into physical restraints," said Williams.

"And that’s exactly what happened. He sat with her. She calmed down almost immediately and remained calm for the rest of the flight."

The woman departed the flight without incident.

She was interviewed by police upon arrival in Kingston, but charges were not laid.

The airline is now reviewing the incident to determine if its procedures were followed appropriately.

Some of the video captured by passengers shows the woman making reference to her mental state.

"This is something else that is part of our investigation as to, you know, what may have triggered her behaviour in the first place and evaluating how the crew decided to manage the situation," Williams said.

He added that Caribbean Airlines can remove a passenger from a plane and has done so in the past.

He said the airline can also prohibit a problematic passenger from boarding its flights in future.