PETALING JAYA - The pilot of a chartered Thai AirAsia flight from Bangkok to Nanjing, China, decided to return to Bangkok after an agitated passenger started uttering threats to bring down the plane.
The captain made the decision after the passenger's female companion, believed to be his girlfriend, had earlier splashed hot water on a flight attendant.
The couple were among passengers in a tour group, who were initially not happy at not being able to sit next to each other on the flight that took off at 5.55pm on Thursday from Bangkok's Don Mueang Airport.
Assisted by flight attendants, other passengers made way so the duo could be seated together. However, an argument soon broke out between the couple.
"During the flight, the passenger exhibited dissatisfaction with a member of the cabin crew by using hot water to scald her, injuring the attendant.
"The captain decided to return the plane to Don Mueang Airport, deeming her actions as endangering other passengers and impeding in-flight service," AirAsia said in a statement.
The hot water was believed to be the broth inside a cup noodle container.
In a video posted on the Internet by China National Radio, the man was seen standing up in the cabin uttering threats.
The crew administered first aid to their colleague, who was seen in pictures covering her face with her hands.
After the plane landed, the couple and two others from her group were forced to disembark.
"The passenger, captain and cabin crew discussed the situation at the airport police station, where the four Chinese passengers were fined for their action by the airport police," added AirAsia.
The flight took off again about five hours later with 170 passengers, minus the four. It arrived safely in Nanjing at 4.10am on Friday.
It was understood that the four ejected passengers returned to China on another flight.
Incidents involving crude or socially unacceptable behaviour by Chinese tourists have prompted Beijing to issue a 64-page guideline last year on how to behave while abroad.