A video of a passenger clashing with Qantas Airline staff on a Bali-Australia flight went viral last week. The altercation resulted in the passenger and his family being asked to leave the flight. New details have emerged about the incident, and it has been confirmed that the passenger in question is a high-profile rugby player.
The video was filmed by a fellow passenger and posted to TikTok. The incident occurred on the 20th of September, though it did not go viral immediately. The footage was taken while the plane was preparing to taxi at Bali’s I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar. In the video, the man claims that his wife and children are in tears.
He tells a flight attendant, ‘They made her cry, and she’s crying because they were being rude to her with a newborn baby’. As the altercation escalates, the flight attendant holds her hand up and asks the man repeatedly to ‘stop’. The man continues to demand an apology from the airline staff.
@9news “Get out of my face.” An Australian family has been kicked off their Qantas flight home from Bali, after a tense altercation with flight attendants. Full details, tonight on #9News ♬ original sound – 9News Australia
In the ‘extended cut’ of the video, the man in question continues to demand an apology from the airline staff. It is not possible to make out the man’s face in the video. He tells the staff, ‘Unless you carry my kids out, force them out, we’re not leaving’ and then goes on to say ‘Bring the police here’. He gets a swift response from the flight attendant, who replies, ‘we are’.
He goes on to protest, ‘You’re getting angry at my wife because both of them (their kids) are double teething…You can’t upset my family and kids. What are you talking about: ‘You can’t upset my crew,’ my wife is crying…Tell security to come and take me by the b**ls’.
It has now been confirmed by News.com.au that the man in the video is a high-profile athlete and philanthropist, Zakir Slaimankhel. He lives in Sydney though he is originally from Afghanistan. He is best known as the leading try scorer for Afantsgan during the Asia Rugby Sevens competition that was held in Indonesia earlier this year. He is also well-loved for his role as an ambassador for NGO Muslims Around the World (MATW).
He is known affectionally as ‘Brother Zak’. He has a sizeable social media following. Despite the altercation with Qantas Airlines, he tagged Virgin Australia in a post on his feed to show he was traveling home after his trip to Bali. His social media feed is filled with photos from his luxury lifestyle. Many images show him wearing high fashion brands, relaxing on private or business class flights, as well as sports cars galore.
Zakir Slaimankhel has been approached for comment but is yet to issue a statement about the indecent. Qantas Airlines have spoken out about the viral video. They told reporters that the passenger was removed from the aircraft for ‘abusing our crew a number of times prior to the flight departing Bali’.
According to protocol, the incident will now be referred to a committee that will judge whether Slaimankhel faces further action. Should the committee find that his actions towards staff were abusive, there is scope for a travel ban to be placed.
A spokesperson for Qantas told the press, ‘The safety of our customers and crew is our number one priority, and we do not tolerate any kind of abusive behavior…We ask customers to follow the direction of the crew for the safety and comfort of everyone on board’.
The viral video continues to circulate online, with many people resharing the post as a duet on TikTok. Comments on each version of the video have varied. One person wrote, ‘Idk who’s in fault here, but generally speaking. Airlines’ quality of service & customer care (towards economy class) are just getting worse everyday’.
Some suggested that the airline staff were ‘revving’ Slaimankhel, almost encouraging his anger so as to escalate the situation. One person wrote, ‘I would like to see what happened beforehand, but this flight attendant was trying to rev him up’.
Some people sided with the airline, writing, ‘People don’t understand that once you start yelling, you become a flight risk. They cannot depart with you on board’.
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