A defiant couple disrupted a Delta flight Wednesday evening soon after it left Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport for Los Angeles, causing an upheaval that forced the airliner back to the Twin Cities.
Police led the man and woman off the plane as fellow passengers jeered, prompting the man to take a swing at one of the passengers, a witness said.
Flight 2565 left about 6:20 p.m. only to show up back at the Twin Cities airport at 7:35 p.m., said MSP spokesman Patrick Hogan.
Delta spokesman Ashton Morrow said that the couple “became aggressive and created a disruption in the cabin.”
Neither spokesman was able to say what got the man and woman riled up in the first place. A passenger who shot video of the episode said the woman wanted to use the bathroom, but became agitated after being ordered back to her seat.
Airport police identified the man as Blake A. Fleisig, 35, of Los Angeles, and the woman as Anna C. Koosmann, 36, of Edina. Court and jail records also list her as being from Los Angeles.
Koosmann was cited for disorderly conduct and obstructing the legal process. Fleisig was cited for disorderly conduct. Both were booked in jail and released. Several messages were left Thursday for both Fleisig and Koosmann seeking their response to the allegations.
Once the airliner returned to the Minneapolis airport, several police officers came aboard to escort the two away, a video shot by a passenger and posted on YouTube showed.
Patrick Whalen, a concert tour staging executive who shot the 98-second video from the plane’s first row while on a business trip, said Koosmann was upset because a flight attendant told her she couldn’t use the bathroom in the flight’s first few minutes.
The flight captain twice said over the intercom that the people in back needed to return to their seats, Whalen said.
His orders ignored, the captain warned, “ ‘If you don’t sit down, we’re going to turn the flight around,’ ” Whalen said.
And sure enough, Whalen said, he could feel the plane swing around and head east back to the Twin Cities.
Passengers taunted and jeered the couple, not handcuffed at this point, as officers led them off, Whalen said.
It was amid the verbal barbs, just when it looked like the commotion in the plane had subsided, that Fleisig “punches one of the passengers,” Whalen said.
Officers took Fleisig to the floor and shouted “stay down!” along with other commands, Whalen’s video showed.
“Her boyfriend attacked somebody back there,” one passenger could be heard saying.
As Koosmann was led by police off the plane, one of the officers said, “You’re already going to jail.”
Koosmann replied, “Why? For what? For what?”
Whalen, a former Minnesotan who worked with Prince for several years and now lives in Los Angeles, said he got in his own verbal jab at Koosmann as she passed by.
“ ‘You’re going to be famous,’ ” he recalled telling her.
Applause broke out once the two were gone from the airliner, and the resumed flight reached the gate in Los Angeles about 2¼ hours late, according to flightaware.com, a flight-tracking website.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482