The arrest of the drunken Icelandair passenger has appeared extensively in the international media, among them ABC News, New York Post, The Australian, and NBCNews, as well as on David Letterman, with a number of cell phone videos of the incident being posted on websites. The incident has also sparked discussion on how flight attendants handle unruly passengers.
As reported earlier, the 46-year-old Icelandic national, who lives and works as a civil engineer in Trinidad and Tobago, was duct-taped to his seat onboard an Icelandair flight from Keflavík to JFK airport in New York after having reportedly spat on, and attempted to choke and grope, several passengers.
The police apprehended the man on arrival and escorted him to Jamaica Hospital where he was treated for alcohol poisoning after drinking a large quantity of duty free hard liquor on the plane.
The BBC published an article on Tuesday about the legality of restraining passengers. According to head of aviation at Stewarts Law, there is no single over-riding convention regarding the treatment of unruly passengers but rather the laws depend on the country to which the aircraft is registered.
Conventions allow for the cabin crew to request assistance from passengers, as was reportedly the case in this incident. Healy-Pratt told the BBC that reasonable force can be used but if force unreasonably causes injury, the airline might be responsible under the Montreal Convention.
United States federal authorities have reportedly declined to prosecute the case but Icelandair will take legal action. The man has also been blacklisted from Icelandair flights.
Click here to read more about this story.