back to article Airline ejects passenger for being hungry

United Airlines ejected a loyal first class passenger from a recent plane flight because he asked if he would be getting dinner. At least, that's his story. He may have been ejected because he's the sort of security threat who claims he's talking about food when he's really talking about the police. United takes such threats …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    ...United the airline that threw a passenger off for asking for more orange juice, after the stewardess lied through her teeth that he'd threatened her?

    Fortunately in that case all the other passengers waited and gave their account which fully backed the passenger.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    I wish I'd read this last week...

    ... I could have mentioned to the crew that the annoying little brat behind me on a trans atlantic flight had been asking suspicious questions about the meal service in between his ineffectual parents asking 'Little Jonny' to 'Please settle down'.

    They managed to get away with getting out of thier seats while we were second in line at the end of the runway about to accelerate and still didn't get kicked out. Why can't crew supply Kalpol these days. </Rant>

  3. GettinSadda

    What happened...

    He said: "Is there any meal served on board today?"

    She heard: "Is there an air marshal on board today?"

    Result: Panic

  4. Squirrel

    air marshal

    'any meals' =/= 'air marshals'

    There's been worse misunderstandings I'm sure.

  5. emaclaca

    UK's not much better

    Article 78(b) of the Air Navigation Order 2005, states " that "no person shall while on an aircraft behave in a threatening, abusive, insulting or disorderly manner towards a member of the crew". Now that doesn't sound too wide ranging or open to abuse does it?

    This sounds very like the case involving Scotland's former lord advocate, Lord Fraser who got arrested for asking a ScotAirways stewardess why he had been moved to the back of the plane. Again it was a stewardess' word against his. Thankfully, those on the flight offered to go to court to defend him, so they finally dropped the case.

    It doesn't surprise me that if you give poorly paid overworked staff the ability to have passengers arrested for being threatening, they will use them to get their own back on any passenger who steps out of line.

  6. Dennis

    Re: When's the last time...

    Remember, never travel with anyone called John (nickname Jack). You'll be arrested when you trry to greet them.

    And never travel anywhere if you're about to marry someone called Juanna.

  7. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    To hell with all airlines anyway.

    Personal flying is a filthy, polluting, world-destroying form of amusement, and the world will be a better place if/when all passenger planes and airports are abandoned. So, well done that stewardess. It's like the BA cabin crew dispute where BA says the union wants to put the company out of business; they don't, but I do. I'm not even sure that shooting down a few would be too extreme, but it probably wouldn't change anything in the long run. (I mean, I'm not posting anonymously, they'd find me.) A better use of my time would be training birds to crap on their windshields.

    1. SirStrider

      Stolen from the IT Crowd

      Or travel with someone called Peter File.

      1. EvilGav 1

        Who . . .

        . . . stole it from Gary Larson . . .

    2. HFoster

      You're a ghastly idiot

      Through no fault of my own I live and work in a different country than the one I was born in (I'm happy here, but the job wasn't actively sought on my part). The country I was born in is not the same country as the one my parents were born in, and one of my grandparents now lives in yet another country to spend their twilight years with my aunts and uncles.

      Suppose serious illness or a death occurs in my family. I can take the train back to where I'm from, but my more distant relatives wouldn't exactly be able to postpone a funeral by a week so I could travel over by ferry.

      Think before you type. You fucking prat.

      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Wrong is wrong

        Re banning air travel, if you choose to live and work in a different country from the people you seem to be claiming to love and to care about, I didn't make you do it. I assume you are choosing to get the maximum income for your skills regardless of moral or personal responsibility to others, like a drug dealer. Then again I suppose you may be from somewhere like Iraq, or come to think Mexico, in which case I can't blame you for leaving.

        Anyway, unless you are a doctor or something, if one of your relatives in another country gets sick or dies, there won't be much that you can practically do for them that you can't mostly do even if denied the privilege of being lifted off the ground and hurtled through the stratosphere to get there quicker. And there are very fast trains now anyway. And if you are a doctor, then, again, shouldn't you be serving your own community back home?

        1. HFoster

          I don't care if you do drag me down to your level

          No, there wouldn't be much I could do to help in a practical sense, whether I got there within 4 days (taking leave from work and flying) or four weeks (taking leave and sailing), but that's not why people travel to see their families, is it?

          I know you were just trolling with your first post, but now you're being an obnoxious little fucker on purpose. I hope something happens in your life that forces you into a situation where flying is the only option, just so you can see how wrong you are.

    3. phoenix


      Do you own a car?

      Do you eat any food not grown organically by you, on your own land?

      Do you take any medicines?

      Do you only wear natural materials grown in your local vicinity?

      Do you live in a wooden, super - insulated building?

      if you can answer NO to the first three and YES to the last two you have credibility, if not look at icon it speaks volumes.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Could it have been

    Said: "Excuse me miss, are there meals on board this flight"

    Heard: "Excuse me miss, are there marshals on board this flight"

    FAM's dont like to be pointed out to other people as it kind of ruins their under-cover element.

    Speaking as an ex US Carrier employee (Not United)

    Fail because the stewardess seems a bit....... unhinged (if he told the real story!)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Since when did the word marshals sound anything like the word meals? Even when spoken in a merkin accent they don't even sound similar.

  9. Graham Bartlett

    Pre-9/11 US paranoia

    The first time I went to the States on business, I was going through immigration, as you do. The conversation went like this:-

    "The purpose of your visit, sir?"

    "My company's working for Ford, and I've come over to help set up the current project."

    "And how long are you going to be here for?"

    "Two weeks, maybe three."

    "WHY DON'T YOU KNOW!?!?!?!?"


    "... er... because getting things set up might take longer than I was expecting...?"

    On a later trip, I was a little lost in a small town, and a couple of cops were parked with their windows down. I walked over and said "Excuse me, please could you tell me where whatever street is?" First reaction was visibly a scan for weapons (understandable, I guess) - bear in mind that until I spoke to them, they had no idea I was there though. And the second reaction was obviously to ask themselves, "can we ignore him, tell him to fuck off or arrest him?" Finally enough basic civility came through to say "sorry boy, don't know where that is".

    Very odd. Americans are generally about the friendliest people you're ever likely to meet. But put a uniform on them, and one and all they turn into jackbooted imbeciles. It's a strange, strange thing.

    1. Graham Wilson
      Thumb Up

      @ Graham Bartlett: I understand the problem well.

      I understand the problem well.

      Once I told US Immigration exactly to the day how long I was going to be in the US, if I recall it was 6 days. Anyway, as buisness took a little longer than I'd expected and I needed another few days.

      Worried about overstaying my visa, I went to much trouble to get to an immigration office (which was in Albuquerque, NM), and after waiting many hours I was told not to worry about it. When I asked the official to extend my visa or at least stamp my passport to say I'd visited the immigration office he refused to do so. Thus I left the office without any proof that I'd even tried to extend it.

      I had no trouble leaving the US but I was apprehensive until I had done so as my visa had expired three days earlier.

  10. andy 45

    Wouldnt some people feel safer knowing there was a policeman on board?

    That's all....

  11. John F***ing Stepp

    Bad questions.

    "Is that a pint bottle in the pilot's back pocket?"

    "Can I go ahead and shoot up?" holding a hypodermic "I get stressed while flying."

    "You look Arabic somehow, should I be concerned?"

    "Oh, the inflight is Diehard 3, damn; can I get off the plane now?"

  12. DaveB

    Bad Answer

    This reminds me of the guy asked by Algerian border guards if he had a criminal record.

    His response of "I didn't know it was a requirement" ensured that it took the guards 6 hours to process him into the country.

  13. Mark C 2

    "Flight attendants have a lot of authority", they don't.

    You *only* have to obey an instruction from a Flight Attendant if it is to do with aircraft safety.

    The Captain, on the other hand, has more authority than GOD.

  14. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Vote with your wallets, people.

    Just stop flying. I personally don't tolerate being treated like cattle, so I haven't flown since somebody blew up some buildings in New York.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    I'd have believed it.........................

    If he was flying Ryan Air.

    That's Michael O'Leary rifiling your pockets for added extras.

    1. Chad H.


      A guy in first Class, Asks about a meal, and you'd only believe it if it were RyanAir?

      Consiering that you'll get neither on RyanAir, I'm scratching my head here.

  16. kain preacher Silver badge

    @Graham Wilson

    Americans do get irony. We do not take every thing literally . its the police agencies that do that .TSA and federal police are paid not to have a sense of humor.

    1. Graham Wilson
      Big Brother

      @kain preacher - Ok, I accept some Americans do understand.

      Ok, I accept some Americans do understand but irony is something I actively try to avoid whilst in the US because of the strange looks I get when I'm being my usual self.

      The message about being strictly straight down the line with all forms of US security is well known and understood by most experienced travellers here in Australia. Long before 9/11--probably a decade or so before--one of my fellow countrymen made the usual ironic joke (a common local trait for many Australians) to security at a US airport. They threw the book at him, locked him up and threw away the key for ages, it totally ruined his vacation.

      It took very considerable efforts and much time by our diplomatic service to have the matter straightened out.

      I'm very careful what I say when in the US in case my comments are misunderstood. The rules are only speak when spoken to, only answer the question and be succinct and to the point about one's answer. It's far too risky to say one iota more.

      I've done a reasonable amount of travelling and even before 9/11 the US was always the most problematic of countries to enter (that's unless you're Mexican).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        I've never understood this British obsession with Americans not understanding irony. It's not that I think Americans do understand irony, it's more that most of the British people I know can't explain what irony is.

        P.S. Before you start flaming me as some smararsed merkin, please understand that I am British.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Damn Good Thing

    He didn't have a guitar with him.

    Does he write songs, by the way?

  18. Stewart Haywood


    There are two posibilities:

    A) The cabin staff had been out-sourced from a non-English speaking country.

    B) One of the cabin staff needed an extra 30mins on the ground to do some shopping.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    If I can't drive to a destination I don't go

    Flying is such a pain... TSA - Thousands Standing Around... they are worse than Road Workers.

  20. John Tserkezis

    Perhaps we need something like the "Hitch Hiker's guide"

    "In the event you find yourself on board a United Airlines flight, ensure you are not carrying anything that could be used as a weapon, or in the event you are carrying a weapon and are travelling to Dallas, ensure you carry it overtly, where the stewards will kindly stow it for you during the flight, and return it at your destination.

    It is vitally important you always maintain an inert poker face, and at _ANY_ cost, do NOT ask the stewards if food will be served during the flight"

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So what if he did ask about police?

    Many people are scared of flying and of terrorism - maybe asking whether there are police on board would be for reassurance? Obviously the stewardess wouldn't point them out so what's the problem?

    I think it's time that the security industry was accountable to US, not the other way around, and we need some kind of passengers' charter that involves us not getting treated like crap. Many people have pointed out that airlines are losing money because of this and I can only agree.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Am I missing something?

      I thought air marshalls were compulsory on US flights. Maybe I've been misinformed by the British media, and if so I apologise for wasting your time with this post. If, however, they are compulsory who would anybody need to ask? If that is the case then the whole story is even weirder.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Why would the stewardess have decided to make up a story about him asking if the police were on board? Why did he not question her strange answer to his question? It's not like she would have misheard him, the two questions don't even sound similar.

    Now I wouldn't assume (as some have done) that he's telling a bare faced lie here. However, I do think there's something he's not telling us.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Yeah but......

    There is a real tendency to employ pricks and meat heads in security and other occupations.

    Friend of mine.... lives in a country town 150Km away from dentist.

    Got a knock to the gob, loosens tooth, sees dentist in emergency. Outcome - tooth may live or tooth may die - and if it dies - it may take a few months or a few years.

    Stupid "medical authority" type dentist asks him to make a 300K round trip, every month, just to do a sensitivity test.

    Test = tool with some dry ice in it, being placed up against tooth for a few moments...

    Very cold sensation = demonstrates tooth is still alive.

    Point of test? - well the guy then gets the shits up with travelling backward and forward cause it's a whole day away and much driving etc....

    And he then keeps the appointment - by phone. This irritates receptionist - who complains to dentist....

    And the dentist comes clean that the tooth will either live or die, and if it dies, it will become very sensitive to heat or cold just before it does so.....

    Point of running backwards and forwards for tests? No good reason.

    The dentist should have said this at the very outset.

    But no dickheads like him are quite happy to have you running backwards and forwards for NO particular reason....

    So having has some experience with dickheads in the airlines and security industries.... nothing like this story surprises me.

  24. SmudgerUK

    numpty air stewards

    Having been woken up and asked aggressively to turn off my flight safe mode i-phone whilst cruising at altitude by an Airline staff member because she didn't understand what flight safe mode meant, not a lot is surprising about these power hungry nutters...

    1. Robert E A Harvey

      no flight safe mode

      several airlines don't allow for flight mode. They even insist on you turning off mp3 players whenever the seatbelt signis on.

      Perhaps they should buy better aeroplanes


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