Alisa Arshavina, wife of former Arsenal footballer Andrey Arshavin, was kicked off an Aeroflot flight at the weekend, the airline has confirmed.
Mrs Arshavina, travelling with her two children and her nanny, was removed from the airplane by the captain of the aircraft after refusing to comply with instruction from the crew.
Aeroflot claim that she attempted to seat her nanny in business class, though her ticket was for economy, in addition to flouting safety regulations. She also unfastened one of her children's seatbelts before take-off.
While under pressure from crew to correct her behaviour, Mrs Arshavina claimed she was an operative within the FSB, the Russian secret service.
A statement from Aeroflot read: “On Saturday 6 January business-class passenger Alisa Arshavina, together with her children and their nanny, were removed from Flight SU1946 from Moscow to Almaty following obstructive behaviour and disregarding the crew's requests. The decision to deplane the passengers was taken by the captain of the aircraft.
“According to the report of Aeroflot's senior flight attendant, Alisa Arshavina ignored requests from cabin crew to follow the airline's regulations and attempted to seat her nanny in the business class cabin despite the fact that her ticket was for economy class, thus violating the conditions of travel.
“Moreover, the passenger refused to follow the instructions of flight attendants during preparation for take-off in terms of safety requirements. In addition, one of her children was not wearing a seatbelt and was not in its seat when the plane was ready for take-off and began to taxi.
“200 metres before the runway Alisa Arshavina unfastened her seatbelt and the seatbelt of her child, which is categorically forbidden by safety regulations. The passenger had received multiple warnings from the cabin crew that such actions were not permitted, and was ultimately given a written warning. However, she continued to disregard requests from the crew.
“On this basis the captain took the decision to remove the passengers from the flight. The report notes that on several occasions the passenger Alisa Arshavina described herself as a major in the FSB, in an attempt to put pressure on the crew.
“In addition Aeroflot has witness testimonies from other passengers regarding the obstructive behaviour of Alisa Arshavina.
“Previously amendments were introduced to Russian federal law which provided for stricter measures for dealing with anti-social behaviour on transport. From June 2018 airlines received the legal right to include obstructive passengers in blacklists and to refuse boarding to them in the future.”
Andrey Arshavin played for Arsenal between 2009 and 2013, scoring 31 goals in 145 games, including a memorable four-goal haul in a pulsating clash with Liverpool.