Sunday, February 12, 2017
The Friendly Skies Just Got Not So Friendly
United Airlines removes pilot from plane after rant about Clinton and Trump
A United Airlines pilot was removed from a San Francisco bound flight Saturday evening after using the plane’s intercom system to go on an erratic rant about her divorce and the recent presidential election.
The pilot, who showed up late to the plane set to depart from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, boarded the plane in normal street clothes instead of her United pilot uniform and told the passengers on the intercom from the front of the plane, “Sorry I’m late. The reason I’m late is I’m going through a divorce.”
She continued rambling, making passengers increasingly uncomfortable and pointing out an interracial couple sitting in first class, according to Buzzfeed. Passenger Randy Reiss said, “It quickly went from playful to scary.”
Witnesses said the pilot then commented on the 2016 presidential election, telling passengers, “Look, I don’t care if you voted for Trump or Clinton, they’re both a**holes.” She also said she was going to let her co-pilot fly the plane because he was a man, and offered passengers the opportunity to disembark the plane.
“So I’ll stop, and we’ll fly the plane. Don’t worry. I’m going to let my co-pilot fly it. He’s a man,” she laughed. “Okay, if you don’t feel safe, then get off the airplane. But otherwise we can go.” Part of the outburst was caught on video by one of the passengers.
Reiss, who can be seen in a blue shirt in the video above, left the plane after the outburst, and stated on his Twitter account that nearly half the passengers followed his lead. He also posted a picture of the pilot afterward, standing in the airport next to police.
United Airlines spokesman Charlie Hobart confirmed that the pilot was removed and the crew was replaced before the plane continued on to San Francisco.
“We hold our employees to the highest standards and we removed that pilot from that flight,” he said. “We brought in a new crew and they operated that flight.”
The flight departed Austin, Texas, approximately two hours late and passengers were given snacks and a meal voucher to compensate for the delay.
“We removed her from the flight, (and) we’re going to discuss this matter with her,” Hobart said, according to the Austin-American Statesman. “We were looking out for our customers to get them to where they needed to be.”
Editor’s note: The original version of this post included an embedded YouTube video of the incident in question. The embed of that video has been removed pending the resolution of a copyright dispute at YouTube. You may view the video at YouTube until then by clicking here.