Passenger Gets Into Screaming Match After Refusing to Leave While Waiting for Bathroom, Causing United Airlines Flight to Turn Back
Trouble in the bathroom line.
A United Airlines flight from Newark, New Jersey, to Tel Aviv, turned around three hours after takeoff because a passenger got into a screaming match with a flight attendant. The confrontation was sparked by the passenger refusing to get out of a seat reserved for cabin crew while he was waiting for the bathroom, the Daily Mail reported. Read on to find out what happened according to eyewitnesses who took video, and the strange thing the man did once he was off the plane.
United Airlines Flight 90 was on its way from Newark Liberty International Airport to Tel Aviv on April 23 when it turned around, the airline said. The plane took off from Newark at 12:48 a.m. Sunday and returned just hours later, at 6:28 a.m., the aviation site FlightAware shows.
A passenger aboard the flight told the Israeli website Ynet that a man wanted to use the bathroom, but because they were all occupied, he waited in a seat reserved for cabin crew. When a flight attendant raised her voice and asked him to get out of the seat, he shouted back and refused to get up, she said.
"Crew members told him that if he did not return to his seat, the plane would be turned back to New York," the eyewitness told Ynet. She said the passenger didn't take the threat seriously and stayed in the seat, ridiculing the crew. But the flight attendant did, in fact, tell the pilot to turn around.
Passengers were surprised that the plane was heading back because there was no announcement. "No one bothered to inform us," the eyewitness said. "We just noticed it on the map showing our flight path and when we landed, we saw the police waiting for the plane."
When the plane returned to Newark, the man was escorted off the plane and the rest of the passengers were asked to follow so the flight could be rescheduled. A video recorded by passenger Jeff Hunt showed the troublesome passenger talking with others by the baggage claim.
"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," he tweeted. In a follow-up tweet, he reported what the man was saying to other passengers.
"Guy that forced our plane to turnaround halfway over the Atlantic continues to make his case," he wrote. "Claims all he did was raise his voice in frustration over delayed flight. No violence. Also, no remorse from him for delaying everyone else's travel."
"He just kind of hung around everybody, which was bizarre and bold," said Hunt. "If I was escorted off an airplane I would have hung my head in shame and disappeared, but he spent four hours talking to people."
In a statement, United Airlines said, "United flight 90 traveling from Newark to Tel Aviv returned to Newark shortly after takeoff due to a disruptive passenger. Law enforcement met the aircraft and removed the passenger. A new flight was scheduled to depart Sunday evening."The airline didn't comment on what happened to the man after he was removed from the aircraft.