Italian police arrested the man while the stewardness – whose glasses were broken during  the assault – received medical attention for injuries suffered on Tuesday’s aborted flight from Geneva to Pristina, in Kosovo.

The incident erupted when the passenger apparently lost his temper because he had been waiting too long for a sandwich. The enraged traveller shouted: “I’ve been waiting for hours. I’m hungry,” before assaulting the cabin crew member.

A witness who was sitting near the man told the Mail Online: “He shouted at the stewardness, then he stood up and punched her, and when she fell to the floor, he carried on hitting her.” Fellow passengers then restrained the assailant while the pilot diverted the plane to Rome.

The stewardess later told Swiss newspaper 20 Minutes: “I was totally shocked. I can’t understand how anyone could react so violently over a sandwich.”

Easyjet confirmed that the flight had been diverted as a result of a passenger behaving in a “disruptive manner”.

A spokesperson told The Independent: “The safety and comfort of passengers and crew is always Easyjet’s priority. Whilst such incidents are rare we take them very seriously, do not tolerate abusive or threatening behaviour on board, and always push for prosecution.”

In a separate incident, two Ryanair jets scraped each other while taxiing to the runway at Dublin Airport this morning. The Irish airline said in a statement that the winglet of one aircraft appeared to have clipped the tail fin of the other. No one on either plane was injured, but the accident has resulted in delays to departures.