China detains 25 plane passengers who opened emergency exits before take-off: Xinhua

BEIJING (AFP) - The Chinese police detained 25 plane passengers who opened emergency exits before take-off after becoming angry that their flight was delayed by snow, state media reported, in the latest incident of rowdy behaviour by Chinese travellers.

They were forced to wait in their seats for hours on Saturday after their flight from the south-west city of Kunming to Beijing was delayed, Xinhua news agency said.

After requesting that they be allowed off the plane for health reasons, some passengers "opened three emergency doors in an attempt to stop the flight", forcing the plane to return to the terminal, Xinhua cited a passenger as saying.

Two of the passengers surnamed Zhou and Li were sentenced to 15 days in detention for violating public order, the state-run China News Service said.They were members of a 25-person travel group which got “overly excited", leading to the opening of the doors.The other members of the group were detained for questioning, but apparently later released.

The passenger added that those on board were worried that the vice-captain was unable to control himself after he "swore and cursed", Xinhua said.

The plane had already been delayed for five hours before they boarded, only to face further delays while ice was cleared from the aircraft, the report said.

Others travelled to Beijing by another flight.

China's growing wealth has seen a boom in air travel over the past decade, and a rise in incidents of unruly passenger behaviour.

Last month, a budget flight from Thailand to China was forced to return to Bangkok after a Chinese passenger threw hot water at a cabin attendant.

Chinese state-run media branded four unruly passengers on board as "barbarians", reporting that one of them had threatened to blow up the plane in a row over a seating arrangement.

An airport in Kunming saw chaotic scenes in 2013, when thousands of angry passengers were stranded for hours after heavy fog delayed flights.

Passengers stuck at the airport for more than a day struggled with airline staff, damaging computer equipment belonging to an airline, while police broke up scuffles.

In 2012, a plane carrying 200 people from Zurich to Beijing was forced to turn back after a fight between two Chinese passengers.