Royal Ballet in air rage fracas

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The Independent Online
A FAR from uplifting image of life on tour with the Royal Ballet came to light yesterday, when it emerged that a member of the company had to be restrained during a mid-air fracas on a jumbo jet flying dancers home from Japan.

The altercation involved a stage technician and two other passengers in the economy section of the aircraft during a 12-hour flight on Sunday. The situation was calmed down only after other members of the stage crew intervened, together with an Australian passenger said to be a former special forces soldier. The events were the subject of an investigation by Royal Ballet officials last night. The offending "techie" has been suspended pending the outcome.

A spokesman for Japan Airlines said: "There was an incident on the flight which we have investigated. We are not taking the matter further. It involved a member of the Royal Opera House and two passengers. No one was injured and the safety of the flight was not affected, although the incident probably upset some of the passengers."

Two passengers said they were subject to physical attacks, but neither pressed charges after the flight landed at Heathrow on Sunday.

Most of the ballet company was on flight JAL 403, returning from a six- week tour of Japan and China, where performances had included Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet.

Confirming that only one member of the party was involved in the incident, a Royal Ballet spokeswoman said: "It was not the entire corps de ballet piling into the rest of the passengers on board. But we are taking this very seriously."