Couple 'treated like criminals' by police at Dubai airport after telling a man to stop tapping his foot

Francesca Specter
Yahoo Style UK deputy editor
A couple had an unfortunate encounter with a fellow passenger. [Photo: Getty]

A couple‘s plane journey from Sydney to Dubai turned into a terrifying ordeal after an encounter with a fellow passenger.

An anonymous woman revealed on Australian site Mama Mia how her and her then-boyfriend were held by the Dubai authorities.

The couple were flying from their home in Sydney to London, via a stopover in Dubai, when the woman decided to take a nap.

She wrote: “I closed my eyes and reclined my seat. But as I started to drift off, I felt a rhythmic thudding, like someone was kicking my seat.

“The man on the far left was tapping his foot. Thud, thud, thud.

“After 10 minutes of trying and failing to sleep because of the vibrations, I turned to my boyfriend. ‘Do you think you could politely ask that man to stop tapping his foot?’ I asked.

“My boyfriend leaned across, lightly touched the man’s arm with his index finger.

“‘Excuse me, mate.. would you mind not tapping your foot?’

“The man leapt up like he’d been shot out of a cannon.

“‘This man hit me!’ he yelled.”

A flight attendant came over to move the couple to a different row. However, the man kept accusing the woman’s boyfriend of hitting him – meaning the flight attendant had to report the incident.

“‘I have tried to calm the gentleman down,” he told us. “But I am afraid he wants us to involve the police and we will have to honour that.”

“You’re kidding?” my boyfriend burst out. “I tapped him on the arm!”

“We had a two hour stop over in Dubai before our connecting flight to London. I just prayed we could get this ironed out as quickly as possible.

“When the plane landed, staff escorted us and our “accuser” off first – uniformed officers were waiting for us. We were being treated like criminals!

“My heart thudded in my chest as we were taken to the police station in the airport.

Things went from bad to worse as the woman’s boyfriend was pressured to sign a false statement admitting to the so-called crime.

“A police officer spoke to my boyfriend in broken English while our ‘accuser’ sat opposite us glaring. The officer was trying to get my boyfriend to sign a document admitting he hit the man. ‘Then you can go,’ he said.

“I’m not signing that,” my boyfriend said. “I didn’t do anything!”

“Next a different officer took him into a separate room and tried again to make him sign the false confession. Again, he refused. As officers spoke amongst themselves, gesturing towards my boyfriend, ice cold fear spread inside me.

“I looked at my phone. Our plane was due to board in 10 minutes. I had no idea where our gate was. We were going to miss our connection – and that was far from the worst of it.

“I’d held it together up until that point, but in that moment I dissolved. Tears spilled down my cheeks.”

Finally, seeing her reaction, the ‘accuser’ had a change of heart and agreed to drop his charges.

“I looked up and into the face of our “accuser”. To my surprise, his entire demeanour softened.

‘When is your flight leaving?’ he asked me.

‘Any minute now,’ I sobbed.

‘Let’s get these people out of here,’ he said.”

While the couple thankfully did not suffer any further consequences, the woman describes how the incident has affected her long term.

“Even once we were safe at home, the experience kept replaying over and over in my head. It’s something I think about every time I get on a plane; it terrifies me the way conflict can escalate in such a confined space. And how much worse the consequences could have been.”

While this couple were incredibly unlucky with their fellow passenger, another traveller was much more fortunate.

After losing his wallet on a flight to Las Vegas, Hunter Shamatt didn’t think he’d ever see his bank card or ID ever again – until a generous stranger carried out their good deed of the day.

A fellow passenger returned the wallet with an extra £46 cash stuffed into it.

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