View Full Version : Drunken Flight Attendants Fight Passenger

Aksai Oiler
21st Jul 2004, 20:27
The following was published in yesterday morning's Moscow Times

Drunken Flight Attendants Fight Passenger

By Carl Schreck
Staff Writer Belligerently drunken passengers are the bane of flight attendants in Russia, but the tables were turned Monday night when drunken flight attendants attacked a passenger on an Aeroflot flight.

The "man-bites-dog" incident occurred on a flight from Moscow to the Siberian town of Nizhnevartovsk, when passengers say three flight attendants, all men, got stumbling drunk and beat up a passenger who complained about poor service.

The flight attendants were employees of the airline Aviaenergo, which is sometimes contracted by Aeroflot for domestic flights, Aeroflot spokeswoman Irina Dannenberg said.

They started to cater to the passengers only 90 minutes into the four-hour flight and, according to passengers, were "visibly drunk," she said.

Dannenberg said passengers' accounts of what happened were still being checked out, but it seemed that the problems started when one of the passengers, Artyom Chernopup, who was flying in economy class with his girlfriend, asked the flight attendants to bring her some more wine.

"The attendants refused, claiming that they had already run out," Dannenberg said.

Unsatisfied with the answer, the passenger went to the kitchen and tried to pour wine into a glass himself, which sparked a fight with the attendants, she said.

Denis Aminev, head of the Nizhnevartovsk airport police, told Izvestia that Chernopup, a "powerful businessman" in the Siberian oil town, arrived at the airport with a black eye and was quickly sent for medical treatment.

The flight attendants were also seen by a doctor, Aminev said, and the results might not bode well for them. "The diagnosis revealed clear signs of inebriation," he was quoted as saying.

Dannenberg said an investigation will hopefully discern who started the fight. When asked how Chernopup might have gotten the black eye, she said, "Obviously, he could not have done it himself."

She said three of the four attendants on the flight are believed to have participated in the fight. The fourth, a woman, was busy serving the business-class passengers.

Dannenberg said investigators are also trying to find out why the chief pilot, tthe commander of the entire crew, did nothing to prevent "what was the first-ever such incident in the history of our civil aviation."

Other passengers appeared equally miffed with the service.

"Every other food carton would fall onto the trays or passengers' laps, and the rest would fall on the floor," a passenger, who was not identified, was quoted by Izvestia as saying. "They even slammed one passenger in a doorway on the way out."

"You understand how coordination worsens when someone is not sober," Dannenberg said by way of explanation.

Aminev told Izvestia that Chernopup has filed criminal assault charges, which carry a maximum punishment of three months in jail.

Dannenberg said Aeroflot signed a deal with Aviaenergo on Aug. 6, 2003, but the small airline started to fly on Aeroflot routes only this year. On Monday's flight, both the plane and crew were from Aviaenergo.

She said the August 2003 contract may be reconsidered if the investigation finds the crew on Monday's flight was at fault. A spokesman for Aviaenergo declined to comment on the incident.

Aeroflot registered 126 incidents of disorderly conduct on flights last year, Izvestia reported.