Plane Returns to Dulles After Fist Fight

Passenger fight forces flight back to airport

By John Wist
|  Wednesday, Jun 1, 2011  |  Updated 8:37 PM EDT
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Two passengers in a fist-fight prompted a United flight out of Dulles to turn around and make an emergency landing.

Pat Collins

Two passengers in a fist-fight prompted a United flight out of Dulles to turn around and make an emergency landing.

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Usually, an argument could be settled easily by asking your foe to step outside.

But when you are on a plane, things get a little complicated -- especially when fighter jets are called in.

A United Airlines flight that took off from Dulles International Airport early Monday morning returned soon after because the FAA said two men got into a fist fight over how much a seat was reclined.

The flight from Dulles to Ghana was stopped shortly after takeoff at about midnight Sunday. Investigators said one traveler got upset when the man in front of him put his seat all the way back.

During the confrontation, government officials said two F-16s were scrambled from Andrews Air Force Base to escort the plane back to Dulles. And a United spokesman said that the Boeing 767, with 144 people on board, dumped fuel as a safety precaution to lighten its load on landing.

There is no word yet on whether charges will be filed against either passenger.

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