Is it sad when an onboard confrontation is almost a welcome change of pace from the usual news cycle at this point? Some might see an onboard confrontation, but my first thought is “look, they’re on a plane… I’m jealous.”
Anyway, a video of what happened on a Brussels Airlines flight on Friday, March 13, is getting a lot of attention. The person who shared the video on YouTube was on the flight, and provided the following description of the situation:
This happened on a Brussels airline flight this morning. A black man, his wife and family were traveling back from a vacation. The man is complaining about TWO men who were sitting on the sides of his Mother-in-law and elbowing her as she was sitting in the middle seat. The man complained to the supervisor and was told they didn’t have to help him. The female Supervisor proceeded to defend the men who were elbowing the woman when the man said something to the supervisor. She slapped him. The men who jumped on him broke his ribs and the police drug him down the plane’s steel stairs despite the man asking for medical attention prior.
Here’s the video of the incident (note that it has lots of bad language and some violence, so if you’re offended by that, don’t watch):
We obviously don’t know exactly what happened before the video started being filmed. We have the account of only one other passenger, who I assume isn’t connected to the passenger in question.
Based on the video, and the video alone, here are my thoughts (shared in the order in which I notice them in the video):
- These people are not practicing #SocialDistancing
- The way the passenger speaks to the crew (in terms of the language, aggression, and the lack of listening to crew member orders) is completely unacceptable, and best I can tell he even tries to spit at the male flight attendant, and then hit him
- The crew isn’t doing a very good job deescalating the situation; having at least four crew members crowd one person while he is being both physically and verbally abusive towards the crew isn’t going to make the situation better; surely there was a better way to calm him down until law enforcement could arrive
- I don’t understand how the female flight attendant (who I believe is the supervisor) says “if you don’t finish, you will get in trouble,” because were they really not considering getting him in “trouble” prior to that, or was that just a scare technique?
- The guy then yells in the female flight attendant’s face and seems to spit at her at least once (if not twice) and then she slaps him, and then he hits her back
What absolutely disgusting behavior. We obviously don’t know the full story here. The story from another passenger does seem a bit biased (I wouldn’t say this guy was “complaining to the supervisor,” he was verbally assaulting her and spitting at her, and it’s also disingenuous to suggest that the physical violence started with the supervisor, because he had already hit the male flight attendant and spit at him at this point).
This guy was completely in the wrong in how he was acting, while I think the crew did a bad job deescalating the situation. The supervisor seems to almost instinctively slap the guy as he spits at her and gets closer to her, which doesn’t make it any more acceptable, but…
Ultimately I put blame on this situation on the passenger — he was the instigator — but the crew should have done a better job deescalating the situation. That’s especially true in light of coronavirus, with the guy spitting at the crew multiple times.
What do you make of this situation?