Flight Diverted After Violent Family Feud


Things might be a little tense around the dinner table for Canadian family members thrown off an Air Canada flight on Jan. 3. The flight from Toronto to Calgary diverted to Winnipeg because of violent fracas involving two family members. “The investigation has determined that Air Canada flight #137 was en route from Toronto to Calgary, when a 16-year-old male passenger, from Grande Prairie (in northern Alberta), assaulted an adult male passenger who was identified as a family member,” and RCMP statement said. It’s not clear if any other family members were on the flight.

Other officials said passengers and cabin crew hauled the teen off the family member. He was restrained and taken into custody in Winnipeg before being taken to a hospital. The adult male suffered minor injuries, but his pain may continue in other ways. Airlines typically try to recover the cost of a diversion such as this and it always runs in the tens of thousands of dollars. The teen would be too young to be named in that kind of lawsuit. The plane was able to continue its journey after the family was taken off and got to Calgary about three hours late.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


  1. As a retired TWA Captain, I must say in my 30 odd years we removed 2 passengers!! As I look at the numbers for 2023 and the way 2024 is starting out, what is wrong with people!!! I truly loved my job but I would not want it today. If you are a pilot starting out or former military, the only way to go is UPS or FedEx!!!!

    • Unfortunately, civilized behavior in public isn’t taught anymore from clueless parents brought up by clueless parents. Other than child rearing teaching respect, military training may be one form of disciplined behavior carried over from basic training to everyday interactions.

      • It doesn’t need to be taught. It’s built in. But the consequences of not doing it need to be read to every passenger as they board: act up, it can cost you a fortune, and affect your life forever.

        • I cannot disagree more with your “built in” assumption nor your authoritarian threat as management philosophy.
          I’ll assume in good faith you were raised by parents who knew from their parents or otherwise made it seem easy. Perhaps this gave you the tools you need, but you don’t know it sunk in by example?
          What you seem to be taking for granted is an exceptional gift from western civilization that we have lost the plot on, and it’s going to take actual pain to gain back.
          As for sternly stated rules/threats, they always backfire when the wannabe authority has no real EARNED basis for that authority. The airlines lost it. (The baby boomers as a generation in whole lost it).
          The airlines need to make better appeals for reciprocity among travelers and crew, then back them up with better and more diligent behavior on their own part.

  2. Shocking behaviour, but oh so typical of today’s society. Somehow the anonymity of the internet and social media have conditioned people to believe they can do whatever they want wherever. People book the cheapest flight they can find on some 3 plane startup, ridiculous connections on several carriers, and then are encourages by government to expect the sun & moon in compensation when weather or NavCan or an airport takes things off the rails.
    As for hyphenation, Canada has become a sad sociology experiment where if you’re not hyphenated you don’t exist, everyone has rights but no responsibility.
    I agree with my TWA peer.. go cargo.
    Fifty years in aviation from GA to military to legacy carrier.

    • I don’t think that Canada is the only country that has had bad behavior from its airline passengers, so I don’t think that we can attribute the problem to a Canadian “sad sociology experiment”.

    • I have a daughter in law and son in law who are both Canadian. They both note that the western provinces between BC and Ontario are “special places” whose southern boarders are particularly susceptible to the cultural leakage of violence from below, especially over the last 25 years or so. Nuff said.

  3. I guess that all the low rents are flying now days instead of taking a Greyhound or Amtrak. If it’s not the passengers it’s a flight crew member wanting to pull the fire handles or threaten to shoot another crew member. Like a previous article stated in this e-magazine it might be the inequality of having to pass through 1st class on their way to the coach cattle stalls that brings the WWE traits out in a person. But where else can you get such close up entertainment like we are getting these days on the buses we call airliners.

  4. So I guess Air Canada gave the 16 year old two minutes for roughing, five minutes for fighting and a game misconduct?

    • Wonder if the 16 year old had something in his hand when striking the adult. High sticking penalty, then?

  5. Canadians are usually so polite and pleasant.

    Anybody else here thinking that this inflight brawl may have been about hockey?