With a rolling delay putting everyone in a foul mood, an odd fight broke out on my United Airlines flight from Houston to Los Angeles on Monday between two passengers that appeared to be over a first class passenger cursing.
Fight On My Delayed United Flight From Houston To LA Over Cursing?
I was sitting in my seat in 2A somewhat zoned out when all of a sudden I heard, “Don’t you ever tell me to speak English!” There was a man sitting in first class (seat 4D) who made this statement to a man in a Hawaiian shirt walking back to economy class. I didn’t catch if he may have said something first, but it quickly became clear this was an extension of something that occurred in the gate area.
The verbal spat quickly escalated with the first class passenger standing up and raising his voice. There was a lot of swearing by the first class passenger and a lot of exchange that I could not understand, even sitting just a few feet away. It seemed, though, that the first class passenger used coarse language in the gate area, which the man in the Hawaiian shirt called him out on (cursing does not shorten delays, after all). Based on the “don’t tell me” comment I wonder if Mr. Hawaiian Shirt made a comment to Mr. First Class about speaking proper English rather than using profanity?
I began taking video…which I am not posting here…just in case the fight got physical. Thankfully it did not. At one point, the man in the Hawaiian shirt yelled out to the flight attendants, who were standing and watching in the front galley, “This man is threatening me!” But the first class passengers claimed the Hawaiian shirt guy was threatening him.
Flight attendants told the man in the Hawaiian shirt to proceed to his seat and they would take care of it. The first class passenger then added, “Go to the back! You’re a goofball and you look like one. Coming back from Hawaii?”
Sure enough, a service director boarded the aircraft about 10 minutes later. First, he asked the first class passenger to step off the aircraft and onto the jetbridge. They spoke for a few minutes and the man returned to his seat. Then the Hawaiian shirt guy was pulled off and spoke to the supervisor on the jetbridge. He returned to his seat too and the supervisor left. Whatever it was, neither men were deemed a threat.
I’m blurring the faces because of United’s onboard photo policy (since I took the pictures). The first class passenger was sitting a couple of rows back from me and I would have asked him what happened, but there was a huge dude sitting next to me on the aisle and I didn’t feel like disturbing him.
Ultimately, I’m glad both men had the common sense to walk away instead of resorting to physical violence and I am also glad that United took the situation seriously but let both men fly. Sometimes our tempers do get the best of us, but that doesn’t mean we are not fit to fly…a few seconds can calm many people down.
Finally, I’d have to imagine that incidents like this happen all the time. The only reason I am writing about it is that I witnessed it, but it reinforces that most fights onboard actually do not lead to physical violence or passengers being ejected…they can be resolved just by walking away.