Man in MAGA hat kicked off plane after he tried to take extra seats
A man sporting a “Make America Great Again” hat was booted off a United Airlines flight from Shanghai to Newark, New Jersey on Sunday, allegedly because he tried to claim an extra seat or two that other people had paid for.
An elderly man “became increasingly disruptive when asked to deplane the aircraft,” according to a statement provided by United spokesperson Jonathan Guerin. He walked off “on his own accord” despite the presence of law enforcement, but not before the flight was delayed for three hours. The delay forced the pilot to make an unscheduled stop in San Francisco so a new crew could relieve the one that had departed from Shanghai.
Videos and photos of the incident show an older man jeering at agitated fellow passengers.
He yelled “Hillary” and “lesbian” at a woman before exiting, according to the Facebook post of another passenger named Clark Gredoña, and everyone had to get off the plane before the passenger left and they were allowed to get back on.
Because the United States presidential election of 2016 has proved time is a flat circle inside of which we are all trapped, passengers chanted “lock him up” as the man was escorted off the plane. “Lock her up” was a common chant at campaign rallies for U.S. President Donald Trump, whose slogan was “Make America Great Again” and whose chief rival was Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Much of this information comes from videos and Facebook posts uploaded by passengers.
“He insists that, because he couldn’t get an upgrade, he’s entitled to all three seats next to him even though they’re assigned to somebody else,” Gredoña wrote on Facebook.
“I am entitled to that seat,” the man appears to say in a video taken by another passenger. He then derides a person for not being able to speak English.
This guy has been delaying my wife’s Shanghai to EWR United flt this a.m.. He wants to be dragged off so he can get his 25 million. MAGA hat pic.twitter.com/xWRSmpinpM
— Daniel O’Connell (@DanOfromNYC) May 21, 2017
United appears to have handled this incident much better than an incident in early April in which a passenger was dragged off an overbooked flight from Chicago to Louisville, Kentucky. The passenger, a 69-year-old doctor named David Dao, had refused to leave the plane after being randomly selected to get bumped. A police officer ripped him from his seat, causing a concussion and a broken nose.
United CEO Oscar Munoz responded by apologizing for having to “reaccomodate” the passenger, and was immediately derided. Munoz eventually issued a more forceful apology, and United has since pledged to reduce its number of overbooked flights. A new policy also prevents the company from removing passengers from their seats once they’ve sat down, so long as the safety of any passengers isn’t a concern.