Flyer disrupts boarding process after request to upgrade to first class denied.
A passenger heading to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) from Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) may consider trading his “Make America Great Again” hat for a “Make Flying Great Again” hat, after he was asked to leave his United Airlines flight. New York NBC affiliate WNBC-TV reports United Flight 87 was delayed for three hours on Sunday, May 21, in order to deal with the situation.
According to passenger and United accounts, the unidentified passenger went on UA87 wearing the red had made famous during the 2016 presidential election. During the boarding process, he requested to be upgraded to first class, but was denied. In a form of protest, the passenger then took a seat at the back of the aircraft and prevented anyone from sitting in his row.
Crew members tried to get the passenger to move to his assigned seat, but he would not budge until his request was honored. To deal with the situation, other flyers were removed from the aircraft so local law enforcement could respond.
After some negotiation, the passenger ultimately left the aircraft “on his own accord.” A video from the situation shows other passengers yelling “lock him up” as he left the aircraft under escort – another reference to the 2016 political season.
After departing behind schedule, UA87 was required to make an unplanned stop at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to switch flight crews. Passengers ultimately landed at EWR at 2:22 a.m. Eastern Time Monday, eight hours behind their scheduled arrival time.