London, May 16 : Love took an ugly turn mid-air when a woman bit her partner's face during a drunken row at 30,000ft and "ripped part of his cheek off", it has emerged.
Chaos broke out on the holiday jet as the couple tore into each other until a group of off-duty police officers were forced to step in and restrain them.
The pilot of the Thomas Cook flight, with up to 233 passengers on board diverted the Manchester-bound jet to Lyons.
Trouble had flared on the Boeing 757, Flight TCX 573L, shortly after take-off from Hurghada in Egypt.
"It was the most sickening fight, but terrifying for those watching it in mid air," the Mirror quoted a witness, as saying.
"It escalated very quickly. The couple, who appeared to be very drunk, began arguing.
"Suddenly they were screaming at each other and swearing. Punches were being thrown and young children were watching horrified. They were yanking each other's hair and trying to scratch their eyes out.
"When the woman bit her partner's face there was blood everywhere and people gasped in disgust. Things only calmed down when some off-duty police officers stepped in and restrained them," the witness added.
Thomas Cook bosses launched an inquiry after it emerged only one passenger restraining kit was on board.
One of the warring couple was tied into their seat with the gear, but the other had to be held by other passengers for the remainder of the flight.
The young couple, who have not been named, were arrested by police in Lyons on touchdown and taken away for questioning.
The flight then continued to Manchester, arriving in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
An airline spokesman said: "We operate a zero tolerance policy to disruptive or violent passenger behaviour on our flights and will not tolerate any actions which may affect passenger health, safety and well-being."
Due to a clampdown on air-rage passengers, it was thought the couple had to return to the UK by road because no other carrier would take them. Their passports were temporarily confiscated by Lyons police.