Praying Man on Plane Scares Passengers & Forces Emergency Landing

OMG 24

planeFlying 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

terrorism, travel


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doodl... doodlebut

Oh yes, your right,I can totally see how someone praying is a national threat. Give me a break

hello... hellokd87

Personally, regardless of the circumstances, I find that to be religious oppression. Who's to say that these men didn't have anxiety disorders that praying could only calm them down? There is so much prejudice towards Eastern religions because of their "traditional wardrobe" and that angers and saddens me at the same time. Because of the 9/11 tragedy, that has made Americans and ever other westernized culture ignorant and intolerant of other religions. It's a sad truth, but it needs to change.

amomm... amommy2jack

they could have continued praying in their seats?  it wasn't the actual praying that was the issue, it was that they were in the aisle and not respectful of the flight crew when asked to return to their seats.

NatAndCo NatAndCo

You're not allowed to hang out in the aisles of a plane. Doesn't matter what you're doing. Breaking the rules for religious reasons is still breaking the rules. Being asked to go back to your seat isn't religious oppression.

If they did ask him to stop praying then i could see a religious issue.

fleur... fleurdelys3110

I agree Erika! If your religion doesn't permit you to follow aviation regulations, which are in place in order to protect everyone's safety, then don't fly! To the above commenters -- you don't know how scary a situation like this is unless you're in it yourself. A few months ago, I was flying to Las Vegas. I was on in the first class cabin in the bulkhead seats where I spotted a nervous-looking Middle Eastern man continually going in and out of the bathroom for extended periods of time. Of course, this was racist and presumtuous of me to assume that he was up to something, but that it the unfortunate reality of our day. Thankfully, nothing happened and I clearly overreacted. Perhaps the man was just having stomach issues or whatever. But you know what, regardless of how imagined the threat was, I've never been so afraid in my life. I can only imagine what an ordeal the people on this plan went through, and I'm so sorry they had to experience that.

amazz... amazzonia

That's crazy! I remember as a little kid, when I was on a plane, during the whole flight there were Muslims man praying on the floor for hate entire flight...people should see more of this stuff, and they should accept any kind of religious thing I person wants to do

Christy Howell-Hoots

Another article I read said the passenger wasn't praying.  Apparently, another person on the plane said he was actually asking to go to the bathroom.

nonmember avatar Gretta

Oh please. It wasn't praying that got him in trouble. It was kneeling in the aisle, refusing to get in his seat and generally acting like a crazy person! You don't have to act crazy to pray! I don't blame the crew or the passengers one bit for what they did.

purvi... purvislets

If he was praying in his seat when this happened then I'd say he was absolutely in the right.  But, you cannot stay in the middle of an aisle to pray and refuse to follow the instructions of a flight attendant or pilot.  There are certain safety requirements that they have to follow and when you are in the air you are required to follow their instructions.  If you feel like you are being discriminated against then get the names of the employees and take it up with someone when you land.  You can't just ignore their instructions and continue doing what you want to do because you feel like you have the right while on board a plane.  Follow the rules or they are going to have you detained.

nonmember avatar francynepelchar

anyone who wants to pray can pray silently. if there really were a god, he/she could discern the prayer. person could also pray in the waiting area...lots of time as many flights are delayed.

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