In a staring contest that pitted a United Airlines flight attendant against a passenger, the flight attendant won. A United flight bound for Tel Aviv made a u-turn and returned to Newark after a dispute over a crew seat.
United Airlines Flight To Tel Aviv Diverts Over Crew Seat Dispute
The incident occurred on Saturday, April 22, 2023 on UA90 from Newark (EWR) to Tel Aviv (TLV), operated by a Boeing 787-10 jet with 318 seats onboard.
About 2.5 hours into the 10-hour flight, the flight turned around due to a disruptive passenger. Passenger reports suggest a man got up to use the lavatory and when he found them full, sat down in one of the crew jump seats.
He was told he could not sit in those seats and the conversation between him and a flight attendant quickly escalated to shouting. The man was warned the flight would return around if he did not return to his seat. He still refused. It was on that basis that the decision was made to return to Newark.
Here’s the twist. When the plane did return to Newark, the passengers were let off into the terminal to obtain hotel and meal vouchers (due to crew hour restrictions, the flight could not depart again that night). While the problematic man was led off first (based on the video below, it does not appear by law enforcement), he was let go and mingled with the crowd trying to make the case to them that he was the reasonable one.
Thanks, bro. pic.twitter.com/kmXMXDAooA
— Jeff Hunt (@jeffhunt) April 23, 2023
Guy who disrupted a flight to Tel Aviv and forced a return to Newark not even arrested. Just wondering the airport pleading his case. Unbelievable. pic.twitter.com/fCsNifE0g5
— Jeff Hunt (@jeffhunt) April 23, 2023
Was The Diversion Necessary? If So, Why Was The Man Not Arrested?
I saw headlines of this incident last night and my first thought was whether the diversion was really necessary? One Mile At A Time echoed my concerns and quite rightly asks whether the diversion was prudent considering the great expense of fuel and labor and dealing wtih 300 distressed passengers.
That’s the right question. It’s not that I’m second-guessing the crew, which likely followed protocol in returning to Newark, but whether the protocol itself needs to change. From what we know about the incident, the guy was not smart. No matter how rude the flight attendant was (and we need not speculate here), if a flight attendants tells you to get out of a crew seat, you do it. You do not have a right to be in that seat. You cannot stand your ground when it comes to a crew seat on an airplane halfway over the Atlantic.
But beyond the cost of the diversion, what signal does it send when the man was just let go upon landing and able to wander the terminal? If he faces no charges, was the diversion really necessary in the first place or could the guy have just been zip-tied to his seat?
The story of UA90 is an interesting one because the man seems to have faced no repercussions for his conduct onboard. I expect he is now banned form United Airlines, but some may view that as a reward (I’m jesting…). In any case, I do think that defiance alone should not be enough to prompt a diversion of a full 787 jet. That’s because there are 300 passengers around the man, many ready and willing to tackle him if he tries anything else. That itself is an important layer of security and should balance the high cost of diversions. Under current policy, however, the crew probably made the right call by diverting. The lesson for all of us: the jump seats are for flight attendants.
Full grown adults in the year 2023.
When you mix stupid passengers with snowflake FAs you have a recipe for disaster. I wonder if we have stats on how many unruly passengers there were in the past and how many times flights were diverted. Probably not many since the issues were taken care without diverting but now everything is a big deal.
Not seeing diversion data at first glance. FAA reported these unruly pax numbers for the first five months of last year, January 1, 2022 to April 26, 2022:
1,272 reports of unruly passengers
807 related to facemasks
386 investigations initiated
206 enforcement action cases initiated
Ironically the mask mandate for travel was struck down last April as this data was last reported, and has not been updated since then. This chart shows investigations opened since 1995:
Also I commented this somewhere else, not sure if you saw. FAA says it has sent more than 250 cases of unruly passengers to the FBI since late 2021
Stupid passenger, you bet. “Snowflake flight attendants”…you’re a dick. Crew jumpdeats are for CREW, esp in case of an emergency and they must be seated immediately. If your fat ass is sitting in it, they have nowhere to sit.
If a passenger will not obey rules/commands 2.5 hrs into a much longer flight they are a threat to that flight. It is more important to return and remove him rather than take a chance, where there is no place to land, to see what stunt he pulls next. Yes, you’re still a dick.
Can’t we all just get along??
Imagine if the passenger attempted this act on El Al Israel Airlines which includes on its flights armed, well-trained guards? I’ll bet not.
Is it necessary for airlines to clearly identify crew seats like they used to do? Perhaps a different color seat cushion would help?
Amazing how despite the constant threat of hijacking to Cuba, flying had a taste of sanity in the 1960s.
It was not a crew rest seat.. it was a flight attendant jumpseat. FAA mandates pax are not allowed to sit there… yet this idiot does as he wishes. You just can’t sit on a jumpsuit, just because it’s there and available. Even more so, after being told repeatedly that it’s not for passenger use.
Crew rest bunks on 787-8/9/10 are up on the tail.. there are no ‘crew rest seats’.
Arrogance in Men is the on the rise more and more. You give up a small amount of freedom when you are a passenger. If you cannot behave yourself for 10hrs on a plane? You need to stay home. Obeying your Flight Attendant is mandatory. We dont care why you dont like it, we just want to get you where you want to go. Figure this out please, or stay at home.
Well said and accurate. That jerk probably has a room full of ‘particapation’ trophys- and that makes him feel special- just like his mommy always said. SMDH
“In a staring content”
Was it on Instagram or TikTok?
“the flight turned around due to disruptive passengers.”
Passenger, not passengers.
Also, what is a “snowflake FA”?
@Aaron: a snowflake FA is my opinion the ones that cannot solve any small problems by themselves and use their “power” to disrupt the lives of hundreds of passengers. Was this guy really a treat to the flight? Yes, they had an argument but as far as we know that’s about it. The passenger was an idiot but dis he pose danger to the flight? Was he trying to open a door or stay seated at the jump seat? Apparently all that happened was an argument and from what I see here that was about it. So, divert a flight that cost $$$ and disrupt the lives if so many passengers just because you are “uncomfortable” with a passenger behavior, that is the snowflake approach to me. Had an argument, solved it, move on. Too much drama nowadays.
The problem is solved when passenger complies with FA instruction. Who to say if he was not challenged, what else he may try next?. Never give in to uncooperative passengers.
And how do you explain that he wasn’t taken by police and still stayed around the gate area? if he was that much of a threat why would he still be there? I guess this would be the case where the captain would come out and have a tough conversation with the passenger and if he still did not comply then go divert. It feels he did not believe the FA but the fact he was still at the gate does not make any sense.
Maybe passenger is non rev FA with nasty reputation. Crew got him and put him in his place, at other passengers expense and force United to provide Hotels etc, Passenger now has to deal with fall out. He walks with purpose and ease. He Flys often. Even his physique tells you he is fit.
I don’t think the FA is deciding to divert… that would be the captain, who apparently is a snowflake
Whatever gets uou through the day lol
Don’t you ever proofread what you’ve written before you post it? Believe me you most definitely should! You’re “supposed” to be a professional – hard to believe you reread your posts BEFORE posting!
Would not be Blush more appropriate?
That too. I was worse than usual today and that’s saying something!
Maybe, but compared to any given Sunday post, it’s like a meal in Q Suites compared with Matthew’s IAD-LAX sandwich on United.
Flush the whole article!
Its actually the CA who would make the final decision in terms of a diversion.
Obviously I don’t know the details (either of the situation or the rules), but if the man was sitting in the crew rest seats and refusing to move, I wonder if there’s some legal mandate around crew rest that would have been violated by the absence of that seat, causing a diversion simply to keep the crew legal. Seems somewhat unlikely, since I doubt he was sitting in the crew rest area in the crown, and I would expect that area to suffice for the crew, but perhaps plausible. Someone who knows more can probably confirm or debunk this hypothesis.
He was just in the crew rest seat at an emergency exit. He certainly was not up in the crew rest bunk area.
I’ve only got what’s been written here to go on.
Pax hanging around the galley areas is always an issue……..they get in the way, could be a potential security risk, etc., etc., but pax do need to use the restrooms and queues to form in the aisles and galley areas.
If this particular pax had been taken I’ll, or had mobility issues made known to the FAs a temporary seating in acres position might have been advisable. That doesn’t appear to be the case here.
So, frustrating it might be for the pax concerned, if an FA advises/requests/orders a pax to do something/not do something, the pax needs to comply. It’s as simple as that.
If this pax wasn’t physically threatening, it possibly should have been dealt with onboard, en-route: a return to the departure airport seems extreme, frustrating for all concerned and incredibly expensive. It would normally involve at least airport security if not law enforcement involvement, so why was this not the case here?
Something doesn’t quite add up………
Guy is lucky that flight had “reasonable” passengers. He was really risking getting a beating talking to them after the diversion.
Last year this flight was forced to turn around when two economy class passengers parked themselves in business class and refused to return to their assigned cabin seats.It was also on a Tel Aviv flight,a LOT FA was slapped in the face by an Israeli passenger who claimed she took too long to bring him his coke.
Yes, I covered both incidents. But I hope you’re not trying to make an argument against Jewish travelers based upon the actions of a few idiots. We don’t even know the ethnicity of the guy who got thrown off.
There seems to be a pattern of very unruly behavior on the tel aviv routes.KLM had alot of issues as well,and it’s always over basic compliance and respect for crew.
It was the f/a jumpseat, located by the lavatories.. NOT a ‘crew rest seat’. The 787-10 has crew rest area above the main cabin, up in the tail…6 bunks.. the same goes for the 787-8/9.
I believe FAA mandates pax are not allowed to seat in crew jumpseats, located the exit doors. If they do, we tell them that’s not for passenger use.
Unless the crew rest area was unusable, then the company blocks 4 business class seats, to use as f/a crew rest…And that wasn’t the case here.
Yawn, cabin crew on another US airline over react and ruin the travel plans of many to satisfy their egos.
There should be a locked isolation room on airplanes these days for trouble makers.
Perhaps there are these incidents on United and other airlines because El Al will not put up with any nonsense.