'Air rage' Scot blocked plane aisle with his broken arm

A SCOT who allegedly forced a transatlantic jet to make an impromptu landing appeared before an American court yesterday.

John Alexander Murray, 50, from Glasgow, is accused of arguing with passengers and crew shortly after the flight left Philadelphia.

The plane was scheduled to fly direct to London, but it was diverted to Boston, where Murray was arrested.

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Last night, a spokesman for Logan International airport in Boston said that Murray was detained shortly after US Airways Flight 728 landed at about 0400 GMT yesterday.

The plane was held up for two hours before departing for London.

Murray was charged at East Boston District Court with interfering with a flight crew, Massachusetts State Police said yesterday.

A spokesman said Murray had been arguing with other passengers, but did not appear to have been drunk.

Prosecutors claimed Murray was belligerent and disruptive after being asked repeatedly by the crew to stop blocking he aisle.

They allege that he blocked the aisle with his arm, which was in a splint, and that he would not move it, despite several requests.

A US Airways spokesman said the pilot decided to land in Boston and have Murray removed "in the interest of safety".

The incident is the second alleged case of air rage in recent months.

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In September, Colin Coats was arrested at a Spanish airport after it was alleged he attacked a man and a crew member on an EasyJet flight. It was claimed Coats threatened to bomb passengers, throw acid in their eyes and burn their children.

Bankrupt former millionaire Coats went to ground after being arrested and released at Alicante airport on the Costa Blanca.

In 2008-9, there were 3,529 reports of what the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) calls "disruptive behaviour", 28 per cent of which involved passengers disobeying crew instructions. In 2007-8, there were only 2,671 incidents, of which 31 were considered serious.

The CAA has seen a slight decline in the number of "serious" incidents since the agency began compiling statistics from all UK airlines since 1999.

A CAA spokesman said last night: "The Americans take this kind of thing very seriously."

He added: "This man is in for a lot of trouble."