A couple from Coventry who brawled on a plane in a drunken row which culminated with the woman biting her partner's face have been named by police.

Andrew Gilmour, 43, and Jacqueline Smith, of Kirby Road, Coventry, had to be separated as the pilot of the Thomas Cook flight from Hurghada, Egypt, with up to 233 passengers on board, was forced to reroute to Lyon.

Terrified witnesses on the Boeing 757 said the couple began arguing soon after they boarded the Manchester-bound flight. They began swearing at each other and punches were thrown at 30,000ft before the woman sunk her teeth into her partner's cheek.

A spokesman for French air transport police in Lyon on Friday said the couple were arrested late on Tuesday evening on touchdown and were released without charge the following morning.

He said: "They were drunk and fighting each other on the plane. The woman bit the man on the face but neither of them suffered major injuries."

The crew of Flight TCX 573L was said to have attempted to restrain the warring partners before two female off-duty police officers stepped in.

The rest of the passengers arrived back at Manchester Airport in the early hours of Wednesday, more than three hours later than scheduled.

One passenger, who witnessed the fight, said: "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 officers stepped in and restrained them."

Thomas Cook said that it planned to pursue the couple through the British courts. The company said: "We operate a zero tolerance policy towards disruption and agressive behaviour to our staff and customers onboard our aircraft. We will always look to press charges against such conduct."