After all the stories of flight attendants who were perhaps a little too eager to toss passengers off flights for minor infractions, it’s a refreshing change of pace to read about a flight attendant who had to be removed from a delayed plane for taking his frustrations out on passengers.
According to the NY Post, things got tense during a long delay for passengers on an American Eagle flight leaving LaGuardia International in NYC en route to Raleigh-Durham Airport in North Carolina.
First, passengers didn’t board the flight until 2.5 hours after its scheduled departure time. Then it got stuck in a line of 20 planes at the runway.
The plane then decided to return to the gate to refuel, which meant everyone had to deplane. Four and a half hours after the original departure time, passengers finally re-boarded the plane.
“People were getting really amped up at this point,” one passenger tells the Post. “It took forever to get back on the plane. The fuses were getting pretty low.”
That apparently included one flight attendant, who took to the plane’s intercom to announce, “If anyone has the balls to want to get off, I’ll let you get off! Get off!”
He also is reported to have declared, “I don’t care anymore. This is probably my last flight.”
“He’s being abusive verbally, my daughter was crying,” says another passenger.
The Post reports that several passengers refused to let the plane depart the gate with the attendant on board, and at least three families deplaned.
Port Authority cops were called to the plane and spoke to witnesses, but no one was arrested.
However, once the attendant was removed for questioning, the flight was canceled.
One source tells the Post the cancellation was due to an insufficient number of flight attendants, while the official American Eagle line was that the cancellation was related to the weather.
The airline denies passengers’ allegations that the attendant had been drinking, though it admits it did not administer a breathalyzer test.
“From what we can determine, this is just kind of a group dynamic that got out of control because of weather delays and things like that,” an American Eagle rep tells the paper. “He has been with the company for six years and has an exemplary record. And basically, it appears that the situation with the passengers became so intense that he actually began to cry.”