Passengers Brawl on Plane; F-16s Scrambled

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

A fight over a reclining seat on a passenger flight led to F-16s being scrambled, the dumping of thousands of gallons of fuel and an emergency landing -- and no charges for the combatants.

According to a report in The Washington Post, the fight broke out when one man reclined his seat into the "personal space" of the passenger behind him aboard a United Airlines flight bound for Ghana on Sunday.

What started with a slap to the head escalated, with "peacemakers diving about the cabin to intervene and a pair of Air Force F-16 fighter jets scrambling into the night skies over Washington," as The Post put it.

The plane returned to Dulles International Airport, but not before dumping most of its 16,700 gallons of fuel into the ocean because the plane would have been too heavy to land.

The plane was met by Dulles police officers, who removed the men from the plane. And in what AOL Travel said "could only be described as a first, at least without going back through 20 years of airline incident news reports," the men will not be charged.

"Officers determined that the incident didn't warrant pressing charges," Rob Yingling, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority told The Post.

As far as scrambling F-16s for an on-board flight, "They were just following typical procedures when you have disturbances. It's pretty commonplace whenever there's an airspace violation." U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander William Lewis, spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command, told MSNBC.