Two RAF jets had to be scrambled to escort a Jet2 aircraft back to Stansted after a passenger allegedly tried to open doors during the flight.
The “extremely disruptive passenger” on board the flight from Stansted to Dalaman in Turkey on Saturday forced the aircraft to return to the airport.
Essex police said a 25-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of assault and endangering an aircraft.
The two Typhoon fighter aircraft caused a sonic boom in the north-east of Greater London as they flew to intercept the aircraft and escort it back to Stansted.
Podcast: Is the aviation sector in turmoil?
Bishop’s Stortford police tweeted: “Large number of 999 calls coming in about a loud explosion. We have liaised with @EssexPoliceUK who are confirming that this is a sonic boom from a passing aircraft.”
A Jet2 said: “Two RAF Typhoon fighters were scrambled to escort a Jet2.com aircraft on the evening of Saturday 22nd June, after an extremely disruptive passenger’s behaviour went as far as attempting to open the aircraft doors during the flight.
“In their rush to escort the aircraft, which was supposed to be heading from London Stansted to Dalaman but had returned to base because of this appalling and dangerous behaviour, the fighter jets created a sonic boom which could be heard for miles around.
“Our aircraft landed safely at London Stansted, where airport police boarded to arrest a 25-year-old woman on suspicion of assault and endangering an aircraft.
“We are now liaising with the relevant authorities to support their investigation, and we will not hesitate to prosecute.”
An airline spokesman added: “For years we have been highlighting just how serious the consequences of disruptive passenger behaviour can be.
“These consequences include huge fines, lifetime bans and court action. They now also include the authorities having to scramble fighter jets to escort commercial aircraft, proof that this behaviour must stop now.
“We would like to thank the highly trained crew for their professionalism in handling this incident, which included having to restrain the passenger. We would also like to thank customers who assisted on board the flight, as well the police at London Stansted Airport.
“Finally, as a family friendly airline we would like to apologise to any customers who were affected by this outrageous and deplorable behaviour.”
An Essex police spokeswoman said: “We were made aware of a disruptive passenger on an inbound flight to Stansted.
“There is a possibility that residents nearby may have heard a loud noise, often associated with a sonic boom, as the aircraft [Typhoon fighters] descended into Stansted airspace.
“Officers attended and arrested a 25-year-old woman on suspicion of two assaults and endangering an aircraft.”