Former Estonian PM removed from flight after verbal clash with cabin crew

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Former Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas was reportedly removed from a flight to Japan at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport (HEL) after getting into a verbal argument with cabin crew. 

Rõivas was part of the delegation accompanying Estonian Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna to an official bilateral meeting in Japan.

According to Estonian media outlet Postimees, the argument occurred during the flight from Tallinn Airport (TLL) to Helsinki on March 10, 2024, and Rõivas was prevented from boarding the connecting flight from Helsinki to Tokyo Narita International Airport (NRT). 

A photograph that appears to show Rõivas being escorted off the flight by Finnish police ishas been circulated online.

While there are reports that the former PM was heavily intoxicated during the flight, this claim has since been denied by Rõivas, who told Estonian media outlet Elu24 the argument was due to him using a laptop to work during the flight.

“Allegedly, this was the reason why the next flight to Japan was not allowed. I submitted an official complaint to Finnair with a claim for damages,” Rõivas was quoted to have said. 

The Estonian delegation proceeded to fly to Japan without Rõivas.

Rõivas served as Prime Minister of Estonia from March 2014 to November 2016. He is currently  chairman of Auve Tech, an Estonian company which specializes in autonomous vehicles.

author avatar
Jean Carmela Lim
Journalist[br][br]Jean is a member of AeroTime’s editorial team, working as an aviation writer and based in Manila, Philippines. Previously, she worked in operational aviation roles in Manila, Philippines and Seoul, South Korea before moving to Australia to work in corporate and government travel. In 2012, Jean established her own luxury and adventure travel blog, Holy Smithereens. She is also a contributor for World Travel Market London, one of the biggest annual events in the travel sector. She covers trends and issues in hospitality and luxury travel for a B2B market, interviewing key personalities in the industry.
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