The passenger fumbled with door before threatening to kill herself, according to terrified eyewitnesses.
She is said to have fought off cabin crew who tried to intervene – with two other passengers joining the violent brawl.
The shocking incident took place on board a Beijing Capital Airlines jet travelling from Hunan Province to Hainan, local media said.
A social media user known as @RogerStandy wrote: “It’s really not an easy job to be flight crew, especially when facing the daredevils.
“Fortunately knives are banned on flights.”
A spokesman for Capital Airlines said: “A female passenger got up and tried to do something at the door, but was stopped by crew members.”
The woman and the two men involved in the fight were arrested when the plane landed, officials said.
They are being held in pre-trial detention on the grounds of endangering public safety, but none of their identities have been disclosed.
Last month China’s National Tourism Administration named and shamed five tourists for alleged misbehaviour.
The included two women and a man who brawled during the boarding of a flight from Cambodia to the western city of Chengdu.
The government has grown concerned about the negative impact on China’s image following numerous incidents of bad behaviour by Chinese tourists.
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