There Was Epic Drama On My Flight, And The Cops Were Called

Filed Under: Travel, United

As an introvert I love observing people. Left to my own devices I’d probably just sit somewhere watching people all day (well, in front of my laptop while blogging, of course).

Yesterday I not only had some incredible people watching, but I had a front row seat to what can only be described as a live Bravo reality show. Let me set the scene.

I was flying United from Chicago to Miami in first class, and I was booked in seat 4B. I don’t often pay much attention to others while I’m walking down the plane aisle, but as I approached my seat I noticed the guy in 4A. I’d guess he was about 60, and somehow he managed to look like he was on his way to a circuit party, in spite of wearing a (hideous) Borat-approved tracksuit.

Alrighty then. As I started to put my laptop on seat 4B, he asked me if I mind switching with the guy in 3A. I hadn’t noticed that guy previously. He was maybe in his early 20s, and while the other guy looked like he was going to a circuit party, this guy looked like he just wrapped up a two day rave.

While I generally prefer an aisle seat, I gladly switched, and took 3A. There was no drama for the next two hours or so, but rather they were just talking quite a bit among one another (in Spanish).

At this point I was just sitting there minding my own business, enjoying the mouthwatering seasonal cuisine that United serves (what can I say, it’s easy to fall in love with the ingredients, techniques, and flavors of United’s catering).

I also had out my iPad and started watching the latest episode of Real Housewives of Atlanta. This was the part where Kandi confronts Porsha about her boo being a player who is tattooing other girls’ names on him, and there was some yelling.

I thought the yelling was going on in the show. No, the yelling was actually going on in the row behind me. So I took off my headphones.

There was the flight attendant standing in the aisle. The older guy of the two was yelling at him.

“This is my husband, how dare you. How dare you.”

He went on and on. The flight attendant was extremely professional (and I’m someone who is usually annoyed by flight attendants who escalate situations unnecessarily).

“Sir, you need to calm down.”

“This is my husband, you cannot talk to him this way. This is my husband.”

“Sir, if you don’t calm down I’m going to call the captain and the police will meet the flight.”

“Call the captain.”

Not emphasized enough here is that this guy was yelling, and he just repeated over and over how the other guy was his husband. Like I said, the flight attendant was a champ about it, and really deescalated the situation.

Rather than arguing with the passenger he walked away and called the captain, and didn’t return to their row at any point for the remainder of the flight (in fairness, not returning to the cabin after meal service is a standard feature on United). 😉

At this point I talked to my seatmate about it. Apparently the guy thought the flight attendant was hitting on his husband, disrespecting him, or something, but as my seatmate explained, that definitely wasn’t the case, and this guy was just an insecure nut.

At this point I exchanged looks with the flight attendant in the galley. Not like weird looks, but like an “ouch, I’m sorry that happened, and these guys behind me are nuts” look.

The flight attendant then came to my seat. “Sir, I’m going to give you something for all of this. Are you _______?”

Hilariously enough the name he gave was the guy in 4A, which was the husband in question here, since I had switched seats with him. It would have been ironic if he compensated him for this whole situation (not that I deserved it either).

This morning I received an email from United customer care with a $200 voucher.

When we landed in Miami the crew handled this professionally. They downplayed the situation and asked the two guys to remain seated, and said a supervisor would be on shortly to meet with them. They made it sound like the supervisor was just coming to hear their side of the story and provide them with service, rather than the police being involved.

I got off the plane, and saw an officer at the door.

I didn’t have much time to spare, but I couldn’t walk away from a situation this exciting, so I stuck around.

Then two more cops showed up.

And then a fourth cop!

I stuck around the gate area for about 10 minutes, and at that point still no one had come out of the jet bridge, and I had to go. I’m not sure what ended up happening, unfortunately…

So yeah, there are pros and cons to swapping seats to help others. On the plus side, it got me free entertainment, and a $200 voucher somehow. On the down side, the man’s husband’s honor seems to have been offended by the flight attendant (in the dude’s mind), and I guess I could have prevented that by not switching seats.

Fun times!

  1. …and so are the days of our lives…

    If I had a hot twenty something year old partner…I would be insecure as well…however not how this queen handled it.

  2. That moment when Lucky gets compensated by United for something besides flight bumping. Playing a new game I see 😉

  3. Lucky,

    If you didn’t switch seats, the guy in 3A would have eventually thought you were hitting on his husband in 4A and start a Bravo show…

  4. Ben,
    How many other incidents of this nature have you seen in the last 11-12 years?
    A review series called: “Moronic Imbecility Shown By Fellow Passengers” would be comedy gold…
    Just a thought…

  5. @ Alex Conway — More than I can count, sadly. My gosh, I really should sit down at some point and write them down, because I’ve somewhat forgotten many of them.

  6. I like snarky, people-reviewing, Lucky. What would be a good route for some entertaining introverted people watching? ACY-TPA on NK comes to mind.

  7. @ Ben — You + United + vouchers. It’s like the good old days….now all we need is 30 Rock on the overhead screens. I’m feeling younger already.

  8. The best ever was the fist fight on AA in F from CMH to DFW MD-80. I’m in 5E having my pre departure drink. This couple shows up late for row 6. The guy opens the over head bin full. He proceeds to take all the luggage out and toss in on the floor. The guy in 5A says WTF are you doing to my bags. The guy in 6EF says we paid for this bin F U!

    That’s it the guy in 5A get’s up and its on like donkey kong. He sucker punches the guy in the Isle and it’s a full on brawl. Now mind you were at the gate. I get up and head to the door and stand on jetbridge. Were not going anywhere now. 20 cops show up and drag them all off. We leave 30 minutes late ………good times.

  9. I wonder if the applicable police agency has any sort of police blotter or if reports or blotter type information can be obtained by a FOIA request. I guess the key question is if they made an arrest or just slapped the person on the wrist. There may be something from LiveATC, although maybe the captain called the company to request the LEO’s at the gate rather than calling air traffic control? I suppose its unlikely but if they made an arrest, they could have escorted the suspect down the jetway stairs to a police car rather than walking them through the terminal. Kind of like how Disney likes to hide from its guests if anything bad happens.

    I’m fascinated with behind the scenes details about things! My favorite section of my college newspaper was the police blotter, and I would always listen to the police frequency with a scanner. I would be interested in an in dept discussion or interview about the procedures used by airport police to make arrests or how they decide whether to make an arrest or just let someone go in a discretionary situation like where maybe they did something bad but they didn’t kill or seriously injure someone!

  10. Yes, we need a new blog… One Douchebag At a Time. Though they do seem to come in groups, so may need to modify that name to something like One DB Situation At A Time

  11. @ Boston — I’d be interested too! If anyone wants to dig into it, it was UA2245 yesterday (December 17).

  12. I realize I’m in the minority but this made me cringe. Two people had a very bad day — we don’t know what caused it (insecurity, drugs, something else) but they’re not open to mocking.

    You’re better than this. We’re all better than this.

    People watching is one thing but using your blog to ridicule is disappointing.

  13. Does it make me a bad person that I enjoyed reading this post and its accompanying snarky Elvira gif more than a J class review? 🙂

  14. I also love people-watching, usually at an outside cafe table sipping a beer on a busy Saigon street. I’m beginning to think a good number of the airline traveling public is in dire need of physiatric help. However, I find the Emotional Support Animal stories more entertaining. Seriously, how can you top a story about an E-S peacock flying around in F and trying to exit the emergency door mid-flight? Coincidentally, Popeye’s is sell Emotional Support Chicken boxes in Terminal C at Philadelphia International Airport.

  15. @Tim: “its on like Donkey Kong”. I have not heard that phrase in many years, thank you for the laughs! Its been 20 minutes and I still keep reading it and bursting into peals of laughter to the point of tears. My cat thinks: This is it he’s finally crossed over to full blown crazy.

  16. Ah, Morticia, cara mia…! Love it!

    “You have gone too far. You have married Fester, you have destroyed his spirit, you have taken him from us. All that I could forgive. But Debbie… Pastels?”

  17. @ John: Bad day my backside. This is unacceptable behaviour. They do not get a hall pass because they may have been “having a bad day”. High time people got called out for this nonsense. The only thing missing here is their names and photos.

  18. Ben, few weeks ago flying on American from London to Los Angeles there was an incident in Y. I was keeping at the time and didn’t hear about it. Well to be honest most people didn’t on J. Basically upon landing we were asked to remain seated while police officers and Ice boarded the plane. The first two people to come
    Out were Air Marshals with guns and badges. Then other five people came out. Come to find out a group of younger guys weee extremely roudy at gate. Then took the party inside and got on an argument with another passenger that escalated to a fist fight. Flight attendant then told us we almost had to divert to Iceland. Anyway fun way to be welcome in the USA for those ass clowns

  19. Is it only me who didn’t feel comfortable reading this post? I feel bad for the couple being ridiculed publicly here. I don’t know what exactly happened to them but without knowing the details I wouldn’t make so much judgment on them and ridicule them publicly. That’s the easiest thing to do and probably easiest way to attract readers, just like tabloid papers. You would think that a gay guy would have more understanding for other guy couples but I guess it’s up to individuals

  20. @ Boston

    The only two times I’ve been told in seven years as an ATC that a flight needed police at the gate were, you guessed it, Spirit lol. Both flights were approaching the runway for departure and had to turn back and said they wanted law enforcement at the gate, definitely something we can accomplish but they were within a week or two of one another so it made me laugh.

  21. @Ken Ben didn’t name them or post a photo of them, so I have a hard time seeing how this post comes at anyone’s expense.

    Besides, that was some delicious tea. Keep spillin’, Ben. The comment about your incorrect belief that the yelling was coming from RHWOA cracked me up.

    If you’re going to do people reviews, Ben, you need an alter ego for those reviews. Lola?

  22. @haterz

    Name and shame. Bad behavior deserves to be called out. If ya’ll are worried about getting called out, don’t act like idiots in public.

  23. @Tim: best story ever, and artfully told. “I get up and head to the door and stand on jetbridge. Were not going anywhere now.” LOL. I called my wife in to enjoy and we all had a good laugh. Encore!

  24. What’s missing from this is how you arrived in disgusting terminal G in MIA that hasn’t been renovated since 1960. Good Ole United who interesting has also been splitting flights between G and H to be with *A partners…. Which requires exiting and reclearing security.

  25. @Lucky one thing I’ve learned from my Florida friends – usually when I make fun of them for being from the state that seems to generate the most hilarious and stupid criminals – is the reason (they claim) we all know about the “Florida Man” is that Florida has a Sunshine Law that mandates that all criminal activity is public record…so the info regarding this incident is very easily accessible.

  26. Nothing interesting in expertflyer:

    P ORD/OUT 1127A E00.03 EST OFF 1143A
    P ORD/OFF 1145A
    P MIA/ON 311P
    P MIA/IN 318P E00.13 ☨

    SKED ORD ORIG 1130A GTD C20 SHIP 3507
    MIA 331P TERM GTA G11

  27. First Class on United: about as glamorous as my recent bus ride from southernmost Albania to Athens, in which the mostly Greek passengers continually shouted at the driver. Why? Because they could and because Narcissus was Greek.

  28. @Lucky what do you think their reaction would have been if you refused to switch seats on the ground? Did you wonder that ?

  29. The worst ever was minding my own business but getting in a fist fight on AA in F from CMH to DFW MD-80. My wife and I nearly missed our flight due to my wife taking forever to get ready, the dog running away just as we are leaving and us having to find him, and then a flat tire on I-70 because some dimwit dropped a screw somewhere and didn’t bother to pick it up. My wife was nagging me the whole time that we should have left earlier. We had to park in short term parking because there was no time to get offsite so we’d get gouged on parking. To top that off TSA decided for the umpteenth time to “randomly select” me for a hands on search that involved fondling me until they “meet resistance”. It was more vigorous than when my doctor is checks for a hernia and enlarged prostrate. Anyway we boarded late and were seated in row 6EF. WTH our bin was full. In fact all the bins were full. That doesn’t make sense. Does everyone bring 2-3 full size carryons? I took the luggage out of the bin we paid for and moved it to the floor. Whatever a-holes took our bin can put it in their own bin or under their seat. Suddenly some jerk (probably the one who drops screws and nails on the street) in 5A asks me what WTF am I doing with the bags that were in the bin that I paid for. Geez did he get the TSA exam as well? I responded that we paid for this bin so F U!

    That’s when the psycho in 5A get’s up and sucker punches me. I’m not having that and neither was my wife. Now mind you were still at the gate. The guy in 5E gets up and heads to the door while others watch and some try to pull the sucker puncher off me and my wife off the sucker puncher. It was like a Jerry Springer episode. Well 20 cops show up and drag the psycho, my wife, and I off. Needless to say we missed out connection. The moral of the story? Board early and don’t take others overhead bin!

  30. @Alex Manero MIA is a dump in general. I flew into and out of MIA last week on Aeroflot, and I was appalled at how disgusting and disorganized it was. It was my first time flying into or out of MIA. Holy cow, and I thought JFK and LaGuardia were dumps. MIA takes it to a whole new level of gross and outdated. Sunday night I flew out of Concourse F, and the security took over an hour to clear. Then, the F gate area was so overcrowded that there was nowhere to sit. The floor was full of trash and the carpet was so threadbare that it looked as though it’s been there for 40 years or more. Just taking my shoes off briefly for the security made my socks black as coal on the bottom. It also smells moldy and dank.

  31. For all our breeder readers, a circuit party is like a huge gay rave but with better music and better drugs.

  32. @CM circuit party is basically a set gay parties that goes from a big city to another big city hence the word circuit. Typically you get 20-50 year olds gay men dancing away from 11pm to 4am. Probably 50% of them are high on something. Most of them have 8% body fat or less. Of course this is just me generalizing.

    So did Porsha ever figure out where the entrance for underground train is at? Lol

    You really need to start recording these confrontations. We want receipts!

  33. Hi all, would you answer this question, which happened on flight from Tampa to Atlanta in First class, (as upgrade from premium) I was in 2nd row seat, and the guy in front fell asleep, and began to Snore, which was a little , but rattled the windows, it was that bad, for 50 mins, no one woke hime, and it was terrible, Should some one have intervened, and tried tro wake him?

  34. Please video tweet or facebook live the mid air entertainment next time you find Logo TV show on your flight, I’ll be sure to have popcorn ready. Quality entertainment is hard to come by now a days.

  35. Not to be pedantic but ‘….confronts Porsha about her boo being a player who is tattooing… ‘.

    The word is beau, not boo.

  36. I burst out laughing reading that you thought the yelling came from RHOA! I have that scene fresh in my mind.

    We need these kind of stories to make us laugh abit during these depressing times.

  37. @Jesse Thomas – Concourse D (mostly if not all American/One World) is definitely not a dump. It’s incredibly inconvenient and a pain to get through, but it is pretty – bright, shiny, spacious, and with decent shopping and food options. It’s practically an airport unto itself. I didn’t even recognize the above pictures as being MIA. I grew up in Miami and my family lives there, so I’ve flown out of there more times than I can count, and my flights always depart from D or E, which isn’t as nice but definitely not as dumpy as the above photos.

  38. @cls – right on!!

    @John – “bad day” – my arse!! Please! As a fellow gay guy, based on Lucky’s description, I know exactly the type he’s talking about. I guarantee you that the old fart probably had a very bad dye job for the little amount of hair he has remaining, probably wearing WAY too much gawdy jewelry, probably talks with an awful lisp, probably was wearing gawdy, blingy sneakers, and probably had painted toe nails. In the gay world, this is what’s referred to as a TIRED OLD QUEEN!! Lol. Every day is a “bad day” for the likes of him.

  39. The REAL reason you got the $200 voucher is because you were subjected to the old, dirty, filthy, nasty, decrepit Terminal G @ MIA. When will G finally be torn down? But, it does fit the Continental Airlines level of cleanliness and service.

  40. Did other passengers also get compensated on this flight? I would think that if they compensate one passenger, they would also compensate the other passengers close to drama.

  41. Lucky is smart but I am so dumb. I don’t understand.

    seat 3A – assigned to disrespected man, Lucky sitting here
    seat 4A – yelling man / seat 4B – assigned to Lucky, disrespected man

    FA though Lucky was the disrespected man, Mr. ___, so took down his email?
    FA saw the face of Lucky, felt pity, and started the process to award him a voucher. There was a slip of the tongue or confusion and Lucky was called by Mr. ___, the wrong name.

  42. Real flight husbands of UAL.
    Pitch it to bravo. You can be like Sarah Jessica Parker narrating the start of each episode. And if it takes off (pun intended) then maybe Real flight husbands of SIN, AMS …..

  43. @Tom sounds like you acted like an a-hole here. If the bins are all full it’s common etiquette/knowlege to find the next available bin, even if that means it’s all the way at the end of the plane. You shouldn’t have touched another passenger’s property and thrown it on the ground like an animal. Learn some manners before you fly.

  44. BTW, there’s a lesson to be learned here. Whenever I switch seats with someone , before we leave the terminal, I always let a flight attendant know that I’ve switched seats (especially in first/business class). The FAs know a lot more about passengers than you think, and if any situation like this happens, I want to be sure that they know who’s who. It’s a small thing, but it can make a big difference.

  45. Drama, drama, drama…..people should RESPECT other people and not fight/argue in public. It’s a definite disrespect to all on board. Hope you don’t encounter this again. But needless to say, it is inevitable for you to encounter such nonsense!

  46. You watch Real Housewives of Atlanta? For the love of god. One more thing leading to the dumbing down of the USA 🙁

  47. So the cops were called and the guy put through the system because . . . he yelled at the flight attendant and was a boorish jerk? That’s shouldn’t be a crime in a free country. Flight attendants are not royalty such that speaking rudely or loudly to them is a crime.

  48. I question the necessity of getting police involved. What crime was committed other than a passenger expressing displeasure? Flight attendants only have authority to ensure the safety of a flight. Too often they illegally abuse their positions under the guise of flight safety.

    Very often cops are the worst people to call in a situation because many aren’t serving as peace officers acting in a calm and rational manner but seek to instigate and escalate situations they create.

    This case sounds more like a thing the airline should handle on its own.

  49. @schar, read @Tim’s comment and then you’ll understand @Tom’s comment. And maybe apologize?

    @Lucky, great story. We all see so much crazy sh*t out there… thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *