Passengers reportedly fled a flight before it could take off on Saturday – after a United Airlines pilot went on a bizarre rant over the intercom.
In a ball cap and casual shirt, the pilot remarked on her appearance after she boarded the flight at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in the late afternoon, passenger Randy Reiss wrote on Twitter.
‘Then she says ‘sorry, I’m going through (a) divorce,'” Reiss wrote. “Ummmm uh oh.”
Reiss told BuzzFeed that other passengers even sympathized with “oh’s and aw’s” – at first.
But as her speech veered from her personal life into a string of non sequiturs, the mood aboard the San Francisco-bound jet turned from cozy to uncomfortable, to worse.
“She’s like ‘I don’t care if you voted for Trump or Clinton. They’re both (expletive),” Reiss wrote.
He started shaking, he wrote, after the pilot said she was about to take off.
“So I’ll stop and we’ll fly the airplane,” she says in another passenger’s video. “Don’t worry. I’m going to let my co-pilot fly it. He’s a man.”
Reiss got out of his seat, collected his bag and made for the exit. “Half the flight followed my lede,” he wrote.
“OK, if you don’t feel safe get off the airplane, but otherwise we can go,” the pilot says in the video, still cheerful, as her passengers begin to revolt.
“Did I offend you?” she says to someone in first class.
“Disarm the doors,” a flight attendant says.
Reiss posted a photo of a police officer standing by after the pilot followed her passengers back to the terminal.
Reiss wrote that she hugged him before they parted. She offered to write a book with him. She had been crying.
United Airlines did not immediately reply to The Washington Post’s questions about the incident: who the pilot was, whether she would have been allowed to fly had her passengers not fled, and whether she had been disciplined.
“We removed her from the flight,” a spokesperson for the airline told the Austin American-Statesman. “We’re going to discuss this matter with her.”
The spokesperson said a new flight crew took the plane to San Franscisco the same day – an account Reiss confirmed.
“New captain on board. Apologized. Professional,” he wrote on Twitter. “Radio silence.”
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Avi Selk