Pax Chant “Lock Him Up” As Trump Supporter Disrupts Flight
A disruptive passenger on aUA flight from PVG to EWR was asked to get off the plane in a politically tinged altercation, resulting in an unscheduled stop in SFO and an arrival delayed by eight hours.
Passenger Clark Gredona, who was flying home from vacation, wrote onFacebookFacebookthat the man felt entitled to several seats next to him because he could not get an upgrade. Wearing a familiar red “Make America Great Again” hat, he berated a female passenger, calling her “Hillary” and a “lesbian,” Gredona wrote.
He also argued with other fellow passengers, at one point calling one who didn’t speak English a “moron.”
Sunday’s incident ended with local airport authorities escorting the man off the plane while angry passengers chanted “lock him up.” The chants referred to the bitter U.S. election, when Trump frequently led chants of “lock her up” about his rival, Hillary Clinton.
Elizabeth Aulenbach, a passenger who was sitting three rows ahead of the disruptive man, told The Associated Press that the incident didn’t start as a political dispute but was exacerbated by the “Democratic-Republican fire that rages.”
“He just wanted United to do something, anything, that would allow him to sue them — he even said so more than once,” said Aulenbach, who was flying home to Pennsylvania. She added that United crew behaved professionally.
UA spokesman Jonathan Guerin said the disruptive passenger in Shanghai “refused to comply with crew member instructions.”
Gredona said everyone was asked to deplane after it became clear that the man did not want to move.
“They never explicitly told us the reason why we had to deplane, but we speculated that they didn’t want the resolution to be handled or filmed with other passengers around,” he said. “It was pretty apparent that the flight was not going to take off with him on board. Either way it was a way of speeding up the resolution of the incident.”
He said after they deplaned, everyone waited “about an hour or two” before the man left the aircraft, which Guerin said he did on his own accord.
The flight departed Shanghai five hours after its scheduled takeoff and made an unscheduled stop in San Francisco to change crew. It arrived in Newark at 2:25 a.m. Monday, eight hours after its scheduled landing time.
Delayed passengers were offered 10,000 frequent flyer points or a US$200 voucher towards a UA flight.