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Fight over reclining seat diverts flight

By Marnie Hunter, CNN
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Fistfight breaks out on plane
  • United Airlines passenger smacks fellow flier over an unwelcome seat recline
  • Air Force fighter jets escort Ghana-bound flight back to Washington Dulles International
  • The flight was delayed until Monday, according to The Washington Post

(CNN) -- Simmering air travel tensions bubbled over this weekend when a United Airlines passenger smacked a fellow flier over an unwelcome seat recline, The Washington Post reported.

Air Force fighter jets escorted Ghana-bound United Airlines Flight 990 back to Washington Dulles International Airport after the fight broke out after takeoff Sunday night.

The flight arrived back at Dulles at 12:35 a.m. Monday, according to United Airlines. Airline spokesman Mike Trevino said he could not confirm any details of what happened onboard.

Sources told the Washington Post that not long after departing the airport, a passenger lowered his seat into the space of a fellow passenger and a fight followed. A flight attendant and another passenger tried to break up the scuffle, the report said.

Is reclining your seat a right?

Airport police met the flight at Dulles and determined that charges were not warranted, according to a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

The flight was delayed until Monday, Trevino said. He did not know if the feuding passengers were onboard when it departed after the delay.

The disagreement over seat reclining is not the first to get physical. In November, a disgruntled passenger grabbed a reclining flier's right ear with enough force to knock his glasses off, according to a complaint filed in that case.