While the Thanksgiving travel period was mostly uneventful, thankfully, at least one plane-full of holiday flyers got more than their fair share of inflight drama.
On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, aboard Delta flight 248 between Atlanta and Allentown, PA, a belligerent male passenger stood up in the aisle, arms raised in triumph, and harangued his fellow travelers. Among his hectoring remarks: “Donald Trump, baby! That’s right. This man knows what’s up. We got some Hillary b****es on here. C’mon baby, Trump!”
The incident was captured on video, which quickly went viral.
It’s unclear whether the passenger was inebriated or just lacking in civility and self-control. In either case, it was an ugly scene, that could easily have become uglier still. It was also preventable.
Apparently the Trump supporter, whose name hasn’t been released, exhibited similarly combative behavior prior to boarding the plane. Delta gate personnel spoke to him, but allowed him to board anyway. That, obviously, was a mistake.
In a memo to Delta employees from Ed Bastian, the company’s CEO addressed the subject of “Disruptive Passenger on DL248”:
As you may have heard by now, last week a video began circulating around the internet showing a disruptive passenger on board a Delta flight. This individual displayed behavior that was loud, rude and disrespectful to his fellow customers. After questioning the customer, our team members made the best decision they could given the information they had and allowed him to remain on the flight. However, if our colleagues had witnessed firsthand what was shown in the video, there is no question they would have removed him from the aircraft. He will never again be allowed on a Delta plane.
In addition to banning the perpetrator, Delta also took the highly unusual step of reimbursing the flight’s customers.
Bastian ended his memo with a call for decency and decorum: “The heightened tension in our society means that now more than ever we must require civility on our planes and in our facilities.”
Amen to that.
Reader Reality Check
Have you noticed a decrease in travelers’ civility since the election?
After 20 years working in the travel industry, and almost that long writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.
This article first appeared on SmarterTravel.com, where Tim is Editor-at-Large.