Airline ejects passenger for being hungry
United makes meal of flight security
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 very seriously. At least for a few minutes.
In a blog post, Joe Sugarman says he recently boarded an United Airlines flight, sat down in his first class seat, and felt hungry. “Are you serving any meals during our flight?” he allegedly asked the flight attendant.
"I can’t answer that for security reasons,” she replied. Three minutes later, two armed police officers arrived and said "Sugarman, follow us."
“What’s the problem?” Sugarman asked.
“You apparently asked the flight attendant if the police were on-board,” a United representative said. "We’re not taking any chances and the captain asked that you be removed.”
“I only asked her if a meal was being served,” Sugarman said. But he was told it was her word against his.
Sugarman was escorted off the plane, down the ramp, and back into the boarding area – where a customer service representative was waiting to book him on the next flight.
And he was.
So, if you're the sort of security threat who claims he's talking about food when he's really talking about the police, you can't fly United. Until the next plane arrives. ®
Security theatre is out of control
Last year I witnessed a polite, nervous, old man ask a stewardess if he could be moved as his seatback would not stay upright. She started screaming at him, and a few minutes later the captain came back and said he would not tolerate passengers behaving like that, and that the police had been called. I immediately gave him my business card, saying I'd heard the whole thing and would stand by him if he were prosecuted, or chose to sue for defamation. Half a dozen other people joined in.
When the police arrived he was arrested in front of all of us under security legislation, although there had been no mention of any security matters before, and he was hauled off. The police later took a statement from me by phone, and when I got back to the UK I was interviewed - not about his 'offence' but about my behaviour in offering support to a terrorist subject. I just laughed at them.
I had already written to the airline about this sham, and got no reply at all.
In other incidents, I have had my 'kensington' cable confiscated at the bag search, because the loop meant it could be used as a garotte. They also took my RS232 and Allen Bradley cables 'in case I strangled someone with them', but left the power cable for the PC 'because you need that for the computer'. Last week I had a roll of PVC insulating tape confiscated 'because you can restrain someone with it' I pointed out that someone would have to be remarkably compliant, and it would be much faster to loop my belt through it's buckle and use that. Blank confusion.
In January I was on a plane with an armed passenger, who was merely asked to surrender the gun to the chief steward after it was discovered. No-one called the police or had him arrested. Oh yes, that was a flight from Washington to Dallas. They gave him his gun back as we got off.
My last flight from Aberdeen to Humberside was delayed 'for security reasons'. I quizzed the cabin staff who admitted that the spelling of someone's name on the boarding pass did not match the passport, and they had been taken away by the scottish police.
Talking s**t? That'll be the airline
So your story is that he was thrown off the plane for security reasons.
But then he was allowed on the next plane (stil a security risk, presumably). That sounds realistic.
@Robert E A Harvey - It's no wonder the airlines are going broke.
It's no wonder the airlines are going broke.
Traveling by air has become so tedious because of security and petty rules and regulations that I avoid trips and I know others who do so too. I don't believe we're alone in avoiding travelling, add it all up and I reckon it's a significant reason why the airlines are struggling financially.
Frankly, the terrorists have won because of our overreaction to the treat.
To make matters worse, our society has become so timid and risk-averse that we amplify even the most trivial of safety or security matters into headline news. Moreover, we were on this trend long before 9/11, for example (one of many I could give): when I was a kid if you were driven to school by your parents you'd be teased and demeaned by your peers and called mummy's sook*; now it's just the norm and for some strange reason everyone just accepts wrapping up our kids in cotton wool as the norm.
Of course, society's new parasitic leech, the security and safety industry, has much to do with it; it has risen to such heights and authority since 9/11 that soon it'll be rivaling the Gestapo in prominence and importance, not to mention the huge additional cost we're all burdened with to support it.
Furthermore, the incessant propaganda from this mob and their kindred brethren the insurance and litigation industries is both pernicious and especially hard to counter as it's very difficult to argue against safety, especially so if you're a politician or bureaucrat. Can you imagine what would happen to a politician if he argued against some safety measure and something happened even if it were unrelated to that measure? Right, the media would instantly have his nuts on a plate!
That society has swept aside normal prudent safety measures in favour of an irrational safety phobia is a tragedy for society, especially so for youngsters who have to grow up knowing nothing else. Stop for a second or two and consider what those dwindling numbers of citizens who lived through WWII--those who had to endure months and months of REAL and EXTREME danger of battlefields and the blitz and who had to take it all in their stride--must think of this new social ill. I'm well a generation younger and I'm horrified.
But like lemmings we accept this new fate and do nothing about it. 'Tis much easier to veg out watching some soporific mind-numbing trash from the Beeb on our new wide-screen plasmas and forget all about it, that is until we next have to go to the airport.
* A cowardly or timid crybaby to those of you who don't reside in Oz.