Before the Burbank, Calif.-bound flight took off, its crew was running through safety protocol, though not all passengers were closely following what was happening, Nelson wrote.
“But a man in the row behind me changed all that by calling out ‘ooh, sexy!’ in response to a female flight attendant demonstrating how to use the life vest,” Nelson wrote. “He was in a middle seat with a woman on either side of him — they were clearly uncomfortable. Just in front of him, the two women in my row and I exchanged uncomfortable glances.”
Nelson wrote that she and other passengers looked around, trying to figure out how to handle the situation that was unfolding in the cabin.
“Before we could do more than glare in his direction, the flight attendant removed her vest, purposely walked up to him and said, ‘You need to be respectful,’ and started to walk back to her task,” Nelson wrote. “He said, ‘C’mon, I’m just playing with you!’ As she walked to the front of the plane, the safety instruction was abandoned and she convened a conversation with her colleagues.
“Tense moments passed and we saw an affable-looking man board the plane and walk our way. The offensive man behind me started saying “I didn’t do anything wrong! I didn’t do anything wrong!’ The airline employee asked the man to gather his belongings and exit the plane.”
Alaska Airlines on Wednesday confirmed the incident.
“The account on Facebook from our passenger is accurate,” the airline said in a statement. “We can confirm that a male passenger was removed from flight 520 on Oct 9 from Seattle to Burbank prior to departure.
“We stand behind the actions taken by our employees.”
Nelson wrote that “it was everything we could do to keep from applauding as he was led away.”
“I felt honored as a patron of the airline — and as a woman — because Alaska Airlines supported their staff and those of us on board who were demeaned by another passenger’s juvenile and exceedingly disrespectful behavior,” she wrote. “Thank you for taking this seriously.”
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, “no person may assault, threaten, intimidate, or interfere with a crewmember in the performance of the crewmember’s duties aboard an aircraft being operated,” though it was not immediately clear if the Alaska Airlines passenger’s actions were a violation of the federal prohibition on interference with crewmembers.
The FAA logged reports of 31 “unruly” passengers through July 12 of this year, though the agency notes that its database “contains only those incidents reported to FAA. Reporting is at the discretion of the crewmember.” Last year, there were 103 unruly-passenger reports. The FAA’s count does not include security violations; those cases, the FAA says, are handled by the Transportation Security Administration.
You can read Nelson’s full post below: