Last night a Delta flight from LaGuardia Airport flying to West Palm Beach, Fla., carrying economy class passengers had to be diverted to Jacksonville, because one woman went into a tirade after a passenger reclined their seat. What is going on with people on flights this year? This is the third time in the last two weeks that a passenger had a mental breakdown over another passenger reclining a seat in front of them.
Neighboring passengers said the woman that reclined was knitting and minding her own business, and as soon as she reclined her seat, 32-year-old Amy Fine, from Boca Raton, Fla., sitting behind her went cray-cray. Fine’s uncontrollable rage created so much chaos that flight attendants had to try and calm her down. Apparently the flight attendants were unsuccessful, and Fine demanded that the flight land. Once the attendants felt Fine was out of control and could potentially place other passengers and crew at risk, the pilot was alerted to Fine’s demands and rage. One flight attendant told police they tried to calm the situation, but Fine wasn’t in the mood for reason and told them to eat $h–.
Anyone who causes chaos on a flight, and endangers others who use the airline perks (like reclining seats) have been escorted off by police, can face felony charges, or jail time.
This isn’t the first time an altercation aboard a flight has caused emergency landings. Aug. 24, a United Airlines flight had to make an emergency landing because an altercation erupted between two passengers after one person used the knee defender gadget. Both were escorted off by police. Then, a few days later an international flight from Paris to Miami, a frenchman, Edmund Alexandre asked the flight attendants to make the passenger in front of him pull their chair into an upright position, but the crew apparently ignored his request. That’s when he walked down the aisle complaining about the person in front of him, and as the attendant kept walking away he grabbed the crew member’s arm. A quick dose of flight reality set in for Alenandre, because a couple of air marshals were on board and they immediately detained him. The Washington Post reports, he is now facing “federal charges for interfering with a flight crew.”
Why in the world have some people become so aggressive toward the flight crews, or to passengers when they recline their chairs? That question seems better answered by a psychologist. It appears something is seriously wrong when simply reclining an airline chair is can throw someone into an uncontrollable tirade. After all, those who purchase tickets are given the right by the airlines to properly recline their seats.
Heather Poole, a flight attendant, and author of “Cruising Attitude,” a book about tales of crashpads, crew drama and crazy passengers. Her advice, go slow. If you are getting ready to recline your airline seat, go slow, because you never know if the person behind you has their tray table down with a drink or work. She said it doesn’t matter what side of the recline or don’t recline debate a person is on, the fact is, “All passengers are allowed to recline their seats. Even during meal service, even right after the pilot announces we’re at a safe altitude, even when you want to work on your laptop.”
Wonder what kind of charges passenger Fine, who was escorted off the Delta flight from LaGuardia Airport flying to West Palm Beach, Fla., will be charged with? Maybe passengers who disrupt other passengers air travel and the airline’s schedule, outside medical emergencies, should at a minimum pay for all parties lost time?