A rowdy passenger forced a London-bound Virgin Atlantic flight back to Hong Kong in the early hours of today.


The Airbus A340 had travelled about 1,000 kilometres before pilots decided to perform a U-turn and return to the city.


“Virgin Atlantic can confirm that due to a disruptive passenger, [flight] VS201 to London Heathrow returned to Hong Kong and was met by authorities on arrival,” the airline said in a statement.


Hong Kong police said a 26-year old man began shouting during the flight and ignored the flight attendants’ requests to calm down.


The crew alerted airport control, who in turn alerted Hong Kong police.


The aircraft made a U-turn above China’s Sichuan province and started the journey back to its departure point, the South China Morning Post reported.


The A340 entered Hong Kong airspace around 3am local time, before finally landing at 3.40am.


The man, who according to Hong Kong police is a foreign citizen, was arrested for violating the Aviation Security Ordinance and was taken to hospital.


Virgin Atlantic said 240 passengers and 16 crew were on board the aircraft. The passengers were offered accomodation in Hong Kong. The aircraft is scheduled to depart for London later today.


The airline “does not tolerate disruptive behaviour by passengers on-board,” it said in a statement.


The flight was originally scheduled to arrive in London at 5.25am this morning.