US Airways Pilot Pulls Plane Over To Kick Off Unruly Passenger

A 49-year-old Scottish man with an injured arm grew angry at the crew on his US Airways flight to London last night, so he demanded they turn the plane around and take him back to Philadelphia. Instead, the pilot, who has had it up to here with you kids, landed the plane at Logan International Airport in Boston and had him removed.

From Boston.com:

The flight was heading from Philadelphia to London when a verbal altercation occurred between Murray and the flight crew. Murray had some type of arm or hand injury which required a splint. He refused to move the bandaged limb out of the aisle despite several requests from the flight crew, according to Jake Wark, spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney’s office.

“Mr. Murray allegedly became belligerent, stood up, and demanded to be brought back to Philadelphia,” Wark said.

“Unruly passenger forces unscheduled landing at Logan” [Boston.com]
“Man deemed unruly pulled from transatlantic flight” [Boston Herald.com]
(Photo: eisenbahner)

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  1. Burning pakalolo not even noticing the weather says:

    Well this should make all the “pro-baby lovers” on this site happy. See they kick off adults as well. Lesson learned, everyone, parents, kids, adults, learn how to behave in public.

    • PsiCop says:

      @Burning pakalolo not even noticing the weather: Actually I expect some responses will be along the lines of, “It’s reasonable to expect adults to behave, but 2-year-olds? How dare anyone impose on them to sit still and be quiet? Why, of course they’re unruly! They should be!”

      Or something like that.

      Not that I buy that excuse myself. Just that someone will, no doubt, offer it.

      • Saboth says:

        @PsiCop:

        “Look, kids will be bad. What can I do about it? I don’t have a corner to send them to for a 30 second time-out, and aside from useless time outs and ignoring the problem, what else is a breeder to do?”

    • tmed says:

      @Burning pakalolo not even noticing the weather: That’s me – I am much happier seeing adults kicked off than kids under 5.

      I have seen the best behaved kids stress out and break down and holding them to an adult standard is ridiculous. Holding adults to that standard, naturally, is not.

      • soundreasoning says:

        @tmed: What about holding their parents to that standard? I mean having them take responsibility.
        Anyway I agree with your statement but that doesn’t mean there’s not a line for kids too.

      • DH405 says:

        @tmed: And a parent with an unruly child has the right to disturb my experience how? I don’t care what your circumstances are, they don’t give you any extra rights to disturb others.

        • tmed says:

          @DH405: That is absolute crap. The kid (again – under 5) has the right because at some point – he / she does not have the ability to stop. The parent who has the kid in the middle of the meltdown does not have the right to be belligerant, but that does not give the general public the right or the justification to treat the parent like anyone except someone in the middle of an unfortuante situation and offer aid as appropriate. If the parent is not apologetic, concerned, and embarassed already, than you are not going to be able to help the situation and those with the authority to do so (the flight crew in this case) should fix the situation. You have no right to pile on someone in the situation.

          You have no inalienable right to a hassle-free existance. If you simply choose to be a d*ck who does not care about another person’s circumstance, than stay the at home. Sometimes people have to fly with kids in the modern world. Sometimes that goes badly.

          Once again, adults should get booted off the plane and arrested in Boston.

          • floraposte says:

            @tmed: What’s weird is that the “I’m entitled not to hear this stuff!” is actually part of the same indulgence that such people object to in others.

          • Charmander says:

            @tmed:
            “You have no inalienable right to a hassle-free existance.” Yep, this.

            If more people would realize this, I think the world would be a better place.

            • gtrgod01 says:

              @mamalicious: Good luck trying to get that point through the thick skulled 20-something ass hats on this site that spew hate towards children every chance they get.

              Apparently “they” think that simply buying a plane ticket entitles them to sleep, absolute silence and purified air (ie…no dirty diapers).

              All their comments do is show how young and inexperienced in “real” life they really are….They seem to think they are entitled to everything at the expense of others all while saying “you don’t have that right at MY expense”. They are all hypocritical ass hats who need to grow up….

              The more they post, the more you can tell it’s not just kids they hate, it’s anything/anytime they don’t get what they want or feel they deserve or are “entitled” to by some fictitious set of “rights” that simply don’t exist anywhere but in their warped, detached from reality minds….

      • sicknick says:

        @tmed: Not trying to cause a flame war, just a discussion here:

        I agree that children should not be held to the levels of adults to a point, but where are the adults who are watching that child to be made responsible for unruly kids? Yes, kids act out, but that doesn’t make it a right or correct for them to be allowed to.

        Point of fact, as a young kid, we were in a department store (Hudson’s! I’m showing my age here) and I was playing in the clothing racks like they were my own private fort. I was told by my Mom to stop. I didn’t, and she grabbed me by the arm and asked a store clerk where the bathroom was. She took me in and beat my ass. Needless to say, I stopped hiding in the clothing racks.

        I feared my mother, as all children should fear their parents. She could give me an evil look most times or speak in That Tone and I was picture perfect. When I wasn’t, I got the wooden spoon or her hand. Why can’t we hold all parents to these standards, since we’d cut down greatly (there is no way to erradicate it) on unruly children in public.

        Again, not trying to start a fight (since there is no easy answer to this fight) but I’m just posing a thought.

        • shepd says:

          @sicknick:

          Ruling by fear is not a good thing. It teaches children that the way to be in control is to be able to instill fear. That means when the kids become older teenagers, they may turn on their parents, if they’ve actually learned the fear lesson correctly.

          Incidentally, this goes for citizens of most countries, too.

        • nybiker says:

          @sicknick: I didn’t fly when I was a child (my first flight was when I was 17), but growing up we feared my mom and not my dad. Mom would have no qualms about smacking us on the backside (of course, if we twisted & shouted, the smack might hit us elsewhere) and it didn’t matter if we were outdoors or at home. And if we were home, yeah, the wooden spoon could be used. Dad, well, he was afraid he’d lose control and really go off on us, so his threats about hitting us were just that.

          Fortunately, the 4 of us boys turned out ok (actually, let’s just say 3 out of 4 did – my youngest brother is not what I’d call any sort of angel).

          I think it all comes back to kids being taught boundaries and parents enforcing them. Yes, a 2-year-old is probably not going to truly understand it all, but I imagine that as they get older they should be able to. (I say I imagine, as I am not a parent, so I don’t know the exact time when a child starts to be able to understand the rules of flying).

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @Burning pakalolo not even noticing the weather: Call me a stickler, but I won’t be satisfied until someone hits him in the face then argues it’s a learning experience for him.

  2. UGAdawg says:

    So they couldn’t give him a row to himself? Was the flight sold out?

    • FatLynn says:

      @UGAdawg: Arrangements like these need to be made in advance. You can’t just get on the flight and demand an accommodation.

      • woogychuck says:

        @FatLynn: He very well could have made arrangements in advance. I travel with my son on a regular basis and there have been at least 3 occassions when our seats were changed despite booking months in advance. In one case, they moved our seats 8 rows apart even though he was 2 years old at the time. The ticketing and gate agents refused to change our seats and the gate agent even attempted to add an un-attended minor fee to my sons ticket. In the end, we had to walk around the gate asking people to switch seats.

        Also, was he injured when he purchased the ticket? If not, we can’t really expect him to know the future.

        • FatLynn says:

          @woogychuck: What airline were you on? I have never heard of confirmed seats being changed for no apparent reason, but I also don’t fly USAirways.

          • Quake 'n' Shake says:

            @FatLynn: If you buy well in advance, it can happen when the flight schedules change. Typically, the airlines just spit out 2 new seats for you, and those aren’t always the same arrangement. This is especially true if, as floraposte mentioned, the aircraft type changes.

            Last year, I bought tickets on Delta about 10 months in advance. Knowing the flight schedules would likely change several times, I checked my itinerary weekly. Sure enough, changes were made automatically to accommodate the schedule changes. I recall having to change the seats too. After one “automatic” schedule change, they stupidly had us landing in Atlanta after our connecting flight had already departed.

            • FatLynn says:

              @Quake ‘n’ Shake: Ah, you are right, this has happened to me now that I think about it. I am just vigilant about checking my seat assignments, and would be even more so if I required a special accommodation due to disability or injury.

            • Oddfool says:

              @Quake ‘n’ Shake: I had the same issue a couple of years ago with my son and I traveling from San Diego to D.C. Since our hotel accommodations were different, we had 2 separate itineraries. Halfway through the year, flights were changed, and we were split up on separate flights, with his having an extra stop. I’m definitely glad I had kept monitoring throughout the year, so I could fix anything that came up.

          • PinkBox says:

            @FatLynn: I’ve had confirmed seats changed before, but I don’t remember which airline it was.

            They moved my boyfriend back several rows, and had me squished between two guys. Luckily my bf convinced the woman beside him to switch somehow.

            I’m thankful, since the flight was over five hours long.

  3. MostlyHarmless says:

    I am kind of tempted to side with the crew here.

    Was there a way where the passenger could have easily with minimal effort moved the bandaged arm out of the way? If yes, then it is the passenger’s fault.

    I get the fact that you are injured and all, but “I have an injury” is not a valid reason to cause others _avoidable_ inconvenience/hazard.

    Also it is for his own safety that he move the bandaged arm out of people’s way, so it does not get bashed up by mistake.

  4. smirkette says:

    The selfishness and pig-headedness of some people takes my breath away. The only way he can have a leg to stand on is if his arm was splinted in such a way that he could not move it from the center aisle.

    Still, this and hours of cripplingly uncomfortable flying could be saved if passengers weren’t mistaken for sardines.

  5. rpm773 says:

    …so he demanded they turn the plane around and take him back to Philadelphia.

    Hmmm. Sounds grave, like shock and dementia from the injury had set in.

  6. ToddMU03 says:

    Is the news going to do a story on how he now has to pay more money for a different flight? What? He’s not a whiny parent with bratty kids the runs directly to TV news? Hmm, sucks to be him.

  7. pot_roast says:

    Unless the flight was absolutely full, this was something that should have been handled at the ticket counter or at the gate. I used to work for an airline (customer service/gate/ramp – we were cross trained) and we did what we could to accommodate disabled passengers (we had to) and passengers with injuries that were casted, splinted, or on crutches.

    • valthun says:

      @pot_roast: unless he was one of those, “I must sit in an aisle” kind of person. He probably told everyone he was just fine, but when he refused to co-operate and follow the instructions of the flight crew he caused a serious problem. He deserves to be dropped off at the closest airport.

  8. RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

    Too bad there wasn’t a 60 year old man around to slap him into behaving if he didn’t shut up.

  9. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    “Don’t make me come back there, or so help me God I will turn this plane around and someone’s going to feel the back of my hand on their backside!”

  10. SatisfriedCrustomer says:

    Have you ever been with a 49-year-old Scottish man before? It’s not like you can just tell them to keep quiet. They can be fine in the airport and then all of a sudden have a meltdown in the plane and there’s nothing anyone can do, even if you’re the best parent in the world. The real problem is the wait on the runway before takeoff. This is hard on anybody and particularly on a 49-year-old Scottish person. I wish you all would come off your high horse because someday you might be with a 49-year-old Scottish person of your own and then you will expect other passengers to be patient with you. And you’ve never raised a 49-year-old Scottish person so you don’t know what you are talking about.

    Sorry, just amused why the detail that this person is Scottish makes any difference to the story :)

  11. Anne Boleyn says:

    NOW THAT’S THINKIN’ WITH YER DIPSTICK, JIMMY!

  12. Smashville says:

    @Trai_Dep: Where’s that one been, anyway?

  13. scoosdad says:

    From the linked article in the Boston Herald (caption under the guy’s photo):

    John Alexander Murray, of Glasgow, was charged with being an unruly passenger shortly after US Airways Flight 728 landed at around 11 p.m last night. He said today, through his court appointed lawyer, that he needed a window seat to stretch out his injure{d arm– text missing from caption}.

    If this is accurate, it sounds as if the airline assigned him an aisle seat when he wanted a window seat instead. So maybe he was making an ass of himself in the aisle seat to punish the flight crew for his seat assignment.

    And here he is:

  14. davidc says:

    In the picture, his arm is bent and fairly close to his body. He could have / should have been able to shift in his seat to allow the cart to go by.

    Bottomline? I hope they charge him the fuel cost to land the plane and take off again.

  15. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Scottish? Maybe he was being completely reasonable but there wasn’t a translator on board.

  16. katstermonster says:

    @Smashville_Flippin the Bird Before Bud Adams: That one started this thread. New name. For reals.

  17. Naame says:

    It sounds like the passenger took the situation too far, but I do question whether or not the flight crew was capable of working out a compromise which would have made everyone satisfied. In situations like these, you always got his side, her side, and the truth.

    • DangerMouth says:

      @Naame: Agree, but I think the lesson here is that, generally speaking, if you’ve reached the point of getting hauled away in chains for making a ruckus, you’ve lost your right as consumer to legitimate complaints and expectations of reasonable accomodation.

      Getting angry and assertive can work in a lot of situations, but on an airplane, you do not want to be seen as out of control.

  18. Tim says:

    This sounds like something The Onion would write …

  19. Hogan1 says:

    If his arm was in a cast and extended, he was probably blocking the aisle which is an FAA Safety violation and the Airline is forced to act. If there were no open seats, their ONLY option would have been to ask him to position himself in a way as so move the limb out of the aisle. If he had an issue with this he *should* have had the common sense to let the Airline know his situation beforehand.

    Airline acted in the right; this guy was just an idiot.

  20. khfurletti says:

    Don’t make me pull this plane over! LOL

  21. Superawesomerad says:

    So, was he drunk?

  22. eaglearcher says:

    Looks like he can bend his arm just fine.

  23. Smashville says:

    @katstermonster: @MostlyHarmless: It all makes so much sense to me now.

  24. Invader Zim says:

    Why pull over…..”if you dont behave, I’m gonna drop you out this door right here and you can fly yer self”.

    May the 49 Scottish guy can do a “fly me I’m Scottish” commercial

  25. K-Bo says:

    @Dondegroovily: If it’s a broken bone, it ain’t gonna feel so great when they bang it with the beverage cart.

  26. mattharvest says:

    @Dondegroovily: That’s hard to imagine, unless he had a full-sized chest cast. They explicitly describe it as requiring a “splint”, which means he had to have arm flexibility.

    What’s much more likely is that he was in pain (and pissed off about the injury) and refused to comply because like most people he hates air travel.

    Good for the Pilot, not ruining the entire trip, but the several hours of delay probably weren’t welcome for the rest of the plane. They should be able to sue the passenger for their damages.

  27. Benny Gesserit says:

    @floraposte: It was US Airways, they don’t even fly they just taxi to Heathrow.

  28. diasdiem says:

    @floraposte: It’s like my Mom was flying the plane. Nothing shut us up faster as kids than Mom whipping the car over 2 lanes to the side of the road. Wrath quickly followed.

  29. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    @floraposte: That was a warning. Next time it’s a swift kick in the butt out the door mid-flight.

  30. Kuchen says:

    @RandomHookup: Someone who hates people that love babies?

  31. Burning pakalolo not even noticing the weather says:

    @RandomHookup: sorry it should have read “baby-lovers” or “pro children should be given carte blanche to do whatever the hell they want to do because they are kids and if you don’t agree you are the anti-christ and you should never be allowed to procreate” folks.

  32. floraposte says:

    @diasdiem: My mom once pulled over on an interstate, and a cop stopped and told her she wasn’t allowed to do that unless it was an emergency. “Mister,” she said hotly, “when you have two kids fighting in the back, it is an emergency!” He moved along.

  33. DangerMouth says:

    @diasdiem: My partner is fond of recounting the time his parents pulled over in the middle of nowhere, new mexico, and left him and his cousin on the side of the road.

    I think they were about eight at the time. It would have been a long walk back to CT.

  34. ToddMU03 says:

    @floraposte: He was being unruly, the brat last week was unruly. Both got tossed. Same type of situation. Unruly passengers should be tossed.

  35. diasdiem says:

    @DangerMouth: My mom used to tell us that those white X’s you see on the road now and then were drop-off points for parents to leave their children for UFO’s to pick up.

  36. DangerMouth says:

    @floraposte: Not to mention expensive and potentially dangerous to make an unscheduled stop. Airports charge huge fees to airlines using their facilities, which don’t get waived because of a problem passenger. I also wonder if they had to dump the fuel before landing, as most airports don’t allow airplanes full of fuel to land.

  37. DangerMouth says:

    @diasdiem: Oh, that’s funny, but I can see that backfiring. I can definately imagine a kid screaming to be dropped off there to ‘see the UFO’s’.

  38. diasdiem says:

    @DangerMouth: One that apparently doesn’t backfire is two words one of my sister’s ex-boyfriends mother used: “Trunk Therapy.” This would explain a lot, since that guy turned out to be a real psycho.

  39. Anathema777 says:

    @DangerMouth: But where would they dump it between Philadelphia and Boston?

  40. cmdrsass says:

    @nstonep: Hey, *I’m* from North-kilttown! Do you know Angus McLeod?

  41. Hawkins says:

    @Anathema777: Actually, when airliners dump fuel, it mostly just evaporates before it hits the ground. See
    [www.aerospaceweb.org]

  42. DangerMouth says:

    @diasdiem: Yikes!

  43. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @floraposte: I’ve seen it, it is nasty (and beautiful) :)

  44. UGAdawg says:

    @Trai_Dep: Well done! lol

  45. Megalomania says:

    @FatLynn: it depends on how soon before the flight it happens, although I can’t imagine anyone can say with a straight face that the guy wasn’t being a jackass.

  46. Traveshamockery says:

    @littlemisslondon: Ah, self-important parents.

    MY LITTLE ANGEL IS PERFECT AND YOU WILL ENJOY HER CRIES! HOW DARE YOU LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT!? SHE HAS AN EAR INFECTION!

  47. s73v3r says:

    @littlemisslondon: You gonna spring for them for me? And are you gonna get the flight staff to allow me to use them during the parts of the flight when you can’t use electronic devices?

  48. AK47 - Now with longer screen name! says:

    @littlemisslondon: Huge difference between “my kid’s upset and is crying, but I will act like a reasonable parent and do what needs to be done to calm him/her down” versus “I will ignore this raging tantrum because my kid’s allowed to cry and scream and wail to the point where everyone in this confined little plane wants to light them on fire and put them out with a screwdriver. Hey, kids will be kids.”

    If you fall into the second camp, then please do stay home for the next 5-6 years, because I find you fucking ridiculous.

  49. tackett says:

    @littlemisslondon:
    Pull up a chair, youngster…

    Ya see, long ago, most kids were well behaved because their parents made it happen. A crying kid on a bus, or a plane, or at the grocery store wasn’t very common, and people accepted it.

    Now, every kid can do no wrong, as long as his/her self-esteem is high. Now, crying kids are *everywhere* and most of the people around you are really tired of it.

    You might be the best parent in the world, and keep your kids under control in public most of the time. However, the vast majority of Americans simply don’t. The rest of us are tired of it.

    So yeah, we probably go overboard sometimes, and want to remove kids from airplanes. If it was an uncommon occurrence, people wouldn’t care.

    The rest of the country messed it up for you.

  50. formergr says:

    @floraposte: It does happen quite a bit (it’s not on purpose, usually an aircraft change or a computer burp), and generally when there is a small child involved it falls on the gate agent and/or flight attendants to go around asking others to swap seats so the child can sit with at least one parent.

    Usually they don’t make passengers do it themselves, though, and certainly the unattended minor fee attempt is a new one for me. Ballsy!

  51. Anathema777 says:

    @Hawkins: Neat! I’d had no idea.

  52. ToddMU03 says:

    @floraposte: Very similar situations, not saying they’re exactly the same, but in each case there was an unruly passenger. Adults failed to address the issue properly. Both should have been kicked off the flight. Neither should expect compensation.

  53. DangerMouth says:

    @floraposte: I understand what you’re saying, and I also don’t agree with Todds assertion that the situations are identical. I was just trying to make the point that, in ALL cases it’s the *adult* parent who is responsible for the child (not the child itself), just as it’s the adult passenger who is responsible for his own actions.

  54. sicknick says:

    @katstermonster: Again, from my childhood, my mother was directed by her pediatrician to add 1-2 tsp of whiskey to my formula when teething. A 2 yr old can be given the same to knock them out so they aren’t A) in pain or B) or a bother to others.

    I have sinus issues and I self medicate in a variety of ways before getting on a flight. Xanax, booze, dramamene, etc. It’s just cruel to let a kid cry for hours, also disturbing those around you in a cramped/shared space, instead of knocking them out.

  55. yevarechecha says:

    @formergr: Really. My brother flew last year with an enormous knee brace after a skiing accident. He wasn’t on crutches (though he was supposed to be) but was moving extremely slowly and had to go through a bunch of contortions to readjust the brace to bend his leg in the seat. The airline switched him to an aisle seat, boarded him before everyone else, checked on him throughout the flight, moved his carry-on around for him, and had wheelchair assistance waiting for him at the gate when they landed. The TSA was predictably rude about it all, but the airline treated him wonderfully.

    The Herald article says this guy was asked to move his arm out of the way for the beverage cart and refused. That’s just plain rude. Flying can be a really frustrating experience, but what did he really think that would accomplish?

  56. katstermonster says:

    @sicknick: My kids will be getting doses of Benadryl before a flight. Some parents aren’t comfortable doing that, though, and I can’t entirely fault them for that.

  57. KristinaBeana says:

    @katstermonster: Make sure they do not have the reaction I did as a kid – and actually still do as an adult. Benadryl makes me ultra-hyper, my heart races, my eyes dilate and I even begin to shake. So, the exact opposite of sedation.

  58. tmed says:

    @KristinaBeana: Same with me as a kid and my younger boy (stuff knocks out my older boy faster than a mallet). Also, you can’t always count on medications having a consistant reaction in a child. He / she may be sedated once and hyper the next.

    I’m not saying not to dose your kid before flying – it can be really effective and it’s pretty safe, but don’t rely on it too heavily.

  59. littlemisslondon says:

    Let’s see here…

    There needs to be a distinction made between “tantrums” and “really, really young kids crying”. If your 3-year-old won’t stop throwing stuff, then fucking make them stop. But very young babies sometimes cry. That’s just what they do. And unless you think they, and therefore their parents, have no right to be anywhere public, you may need to occasionally deal with a crying kid. Suck it up and be a mensch.

    (Caveat: I don’t think very young infants belong on airplanes in general, but in an emergency it’s sometimes unavoidable.)

    @Traveshamockery: No one’s suggesting you enjoy an infant’s cries. My kid isn’t perfect. But she is under 3 months old. Would you tell your sister, or your mom, or a woman you care about (if there are any), that she should never leave the house with her child until it’s old enough never to cry?

    @AK47: My kid is currently 2.5 months old (and no, I’m not planning on taking her on an airplane anytime soon). If a 2.5 month old kid cries, I can try to calm her down, but if she starts crying in line at the grocery store and nothing I’m doing is calming her down, I’m sorry to say that I’m more likely to let the people around me endure her crying for 5 minutes so I can buy my groceries rather than abandon the cart.

    @tackett: Yeah, I guess you’re right. Sigh.

  60. ohenry says:

    @littlemisslondon: My childhood upbringing was a lot like some others have said here; I grew up in fear of the wooden spoon, and turned out just fine.

    Personally, I don’t hit my 3 year old. But when they get to be 2 or 3 years old there isn’t too much of an excuse, I think. I haven’t taken my kid on a plane, but I’ve had him in public situations where he’s been upset. All I have to do is look into his eyes and talk with my deep, low, “I mean business now” voice and he gets the point. I’ve never hit him, just used timeouts and grounding. Works well enough.

  61. harrier666 says:

    @katstermonster: A child with an ear infection should be no where near an aircraft. It can, and has, caused serious long lasting damage. A good parent should never risk their children in this way.

    I had an ear infection recently and had to sick out on a flight (airline pilot). They tested me and didn’t let me fly for 3 days. I was stuck in a hotel for 3 days because the airline I work for wasn’t about to risk my ears. I appreciated it, though a hotel when sick is no fun.

    Don’t blame the ear infection for your kid’s behavior on a flight. The kid should NOT be on that flight.

  62. selianth says:

    @DangerMouth: Boston isn’t exactly “inland” anyway There’s one landing pattern where you come down over water (and don’t even see land till the second you hit the ground, it can be nervewracking at times) so it’s probably not even an issue.