Flying can be frightening in this day and age, especially when someone on board isn't obeying the rules. So it was no surprise to hear that a United Airlines pilot had to make an emergency landing after a passenger refused to stop praying in the aisle.
On the flight from Denver to Washington, DC, a man got disorderly when attendants wanted him to go back to his seat and stop reciting religious verses. Needless to say, the behavior frightened many other people on the plane, and a small group, no doubt with 9/11 at the top of their minds, were moved to take action.
Desperate to get the man to stop his outburst, passengers banded together to subdue him. The pilot alerted the control tower that they would need a military escort to guide the plane to a safe landing. Once on the ground, police swarmed and took the man away in handcuffs.
Officials have not released what religion the unidentified man was affiliated with, but that is not the issue here. If you are asked to sit down, you must sit down. Those rules are in place for a reason, and when someone aggressively refuses to follow them, people naturally become alarmed. The situation becomes more scary when the person appears to be a religious zealot. This may not be fair, but that is our post-9/11 reality.
This isn't actually the first time something like this has happened on a United Airlines flight. In 2008, a bearded Orthodox Jewish man wearing traditional garb (including a black hat and long black coat) was kicked off when he began praying before take-off and refused to go back to his seat. I say, if your religious practices won't allow you to follow FAA rules, then don't take a damn plane. Flying is scary enough these days without dealing with something like this.
Do you think this man was treated unfairly or were the crew and passengers justified to react that way?
Image via Hunter-Desportes/Flickr