image

China: Around The Nation

Unruly passenger in Trump hat delays United Airlines flight from Shanghai to US

Elderly man in Make America Great Again cap leaves plane after disturbance over seating as other passengers reportedly chant ‘lock him up’

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 May, 2017, 2:41pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 May, 2017, 2:52pm

A United Airlines flight was delayed for several hours at Shanghai Pudong International Airport on Sunday after a man in a Make America Great Again cap caused a ruckus on board, according to reports.

The UA187 flight was due to take off for Newark airport, New Jersey when the elderly man in a red cap bearing US President Donald Trump’s signature slogan apparently began yelling about the seating.

United Airlines spokesman Jonathan Guerin said the passenger “refused to comply with crew member instructions and became increasingly disruptive when asked to deplane the aircraft”.

Local law enforcement were then called and the passenger “eventually left the aircraft of his own accord”.

The flight left Shanghai three hours after its scheduled departure time and had to stop in San Francisco to re-crew before arriving at Newark at 2.22am on Monday, eight hours after the scheduled arrival time, according to media reports.

It is unclear what happened to the man after he left the plane. The Shanghai Airport Authority has not responded to a request for comment.

Chinese passenger convicted of opening plane’s emergency exit, but escapes punishment

Another passenger on the flight, Clark Gredoña, said the man had wanted three seats next to his own because he could not get an upgrade. The three seats had been allocated to other passengers.

In a video of the incident, the man is heard yelling: “I am entitled to that seat!”

The unruly passenger allegedly also insulted crew members and passengers, including calling one “Hillary” – a reference to former secretary of state and presidential runner-up Hillary Clinton – after being asked to exit the plane, Gredoña wrote in a public Facebook post.

He said other passengers responded with jeering, in Putonghua and English, and chants of “lock him up” when the man finally left the plane – a chant directed at Clinton during Trump rallies.

The incident follows a recent high-profile controversy for the airline, when law enforcement members forcibly dragged a passenger off a United Airlines plane after the flight was overbooked, causing injuries to the man that required reconstructive surgery.