View Full Version : Confrontation on Airplane...How Do You React?

John Ringo
March 8, 2006, 02:17 PM
Here's an interesting topic for the day that isn't handgun related. How would you deal with it?

You book an airline flight and specify a particular seat. Well, you board your flight and encounter someone sitting in your seat. A guy and a girl forgot to book seats next to each other and basically tell you to take their seat in the back. Well you don't want to sit in the back next to the 500 pound sweating person, you want the nice window seat next to the exit that you paid for.

The guy begins getting hostile about it and the girl begins spouting off calling you every name in the book. So you decide...I'll press the issue with the flight attendant because these people are acting like a-holes. Well they force the girl to go back to her assigned seat and you then take a seat next to a hostile guy trying to escalate a fist fight with you. He begins spreading himself out, bumping you, and trying to do everything in his power to get you to react.

How do you hande it? Just a fun topic for the day:-)

March 8, 2006, 02:21 PM
An accidental elbow to his head/nose would be on my list....just make sure you do it while on the ground...lol:D

March 8, 2006, 02:37 PM
I would simply inform the man that I will be filing a complaint against him was soon as we land for threats of violence, which, from what I understand are grossly illegal on a plane. Iwould ask the flight attendents to inform the man of his rights as well. As soon as you get into it physically, you lose the legal upper hand, and risk arrest by an undercover air marshall while still in flight.

John Ringo
March 8, 2006, 02:38 PM
Yeah, but the odds are that it would be seen by someone and you would probably get taken away in handcuff for that one:-)

March 8, 2006, 02:46 PM
Society says you should inform someone in authority. I'm sure if you told the flight attendant that he was threatening you they would take care of it(either kicking him off immediately or telling him that they will contact LE once you land). If he continues to threaten you while in the air and after a warning then he's probably crazy. If he actually tried to get physical and attack you, then there would probably one hell of a ruckus with you and a few other passengers holding him down. Like I said, you would really have to be crazy to instigate a fist fight while in the air.

March 8, 2006, 02:47 PM
First, 95% of my flights are on Southwest and I am almost always in boarding group A (print 24 hours early) and first in line. I stake out my 2nd or third row aisle seat early, claim my overhead space, and don't get out of that seat except to allow people inot the middle and window seat.

Assuming I am in your situation and now I have a nut job sitting next to me I announce to the flight attendent that:

I am being verbally (if it has happenned) and physically accosted by the individual next to me with the obvious intention of engaging in hpyscial intimidation and/or assault.

I am duly concerned for my physical safety and the safety of the aircraft becasue of his behaviour.

Due to this passenger's behaviour I am uncomfortable being in close proximity to him and I want to know what the airline intends to do, keeping in mind that I paid for and chose my seat well in advance and in no way have escalated the situation? I chose my aisle seat to the front of the aircraft becasue I have no checked bags and either and plan ahead to clear the airport (or make my next flight) as quickly as possible after being allowed to exit the aircraft at the gate.

In no way will I respond to the animals provocations, security on an aircraft is taken very seriously and if you give them any reason to suspect you are part of the problem you will find youself stranded on the ground at the least and possilby under arrest.

Use the terms "physical security," "aircraft's security," "safety" and "unstable individual" liberally. These are terms that will get the cabin crews complete attention.

If it actually comes to the point where the aircrew does nothing (very slim chance of that) and I am seriously physcially attacked I will blind him with the 60+ lumen tactical flashlight I always carry onboard (with no problems to date) before introducing his head to its bezel.

Remember, you want to be the first to tell your side so get the "verbal documentation" rolling fast with the air crew.

Bo Hunter
March 8, 2006, 02:47 PM
I would have flipped him for the seat.... Then when I won that coin toss, I would have flipped for whether he left, or the girlfriend left.... :D Are you guys really this wound up? Its an airplane - all the seats suck, and you always have to sit by someone that is fat, stinks, has a screaming baby, or talks to themselves. 6 of one, half dozen of the other. I would have just sat in the other seat and let the two love birds rub each other's legs during the flight....

March 8, 2006, 03:04 PM
The things you all worry about, how about relaxing and seeing the good side of life? How many times does that happen on a flight, one in a million?? You have a better chance of hitting the lottery.

March 8, 2006, 03:08 PM
Sounds like the 6'4" man mountain that was talking in the movies a few weeks ago. I was prepared to allow him to ruin the movie for me. My wife and several other women with larger eggs than their husbands complained and the guy was asked by shivering employees to be quiet. This guy gave me several nasty looks and I thought surely that a confrontation was comming. The brown stain in my britches was proof LOL. We stayed awhile in the theater to give the beast time to leave thus avoiding a confrontation that neither of us wanted.

As for your question. I would take his crap until my testosterone kicked in. Then I would demand to be moved to a higher end seat. I could also call my wife to save me again LOL.

Wyo Cowboy
March 8, 2006, 03:25 PM
Ahh... worry about whether the peanuts are stale or not! :D

Seriously, if you have someone threaten you while still on the ground, get a flight attendant and let them know. They will inform the captain and the captain WILL have them removed from the flight. Handcuffs are optional :cool: . No flight crew wants a violent situation to erupt at 35,000 ft. They will get that person off the plane, like NOW! I have throw several people off of my plane from making threats to my crew or other passengers. Three times the police were called, and once the handcuffs became manditory. Making a threat onboard an airliner, while on the ground, is usually considered minor assault and gets some face time with the local PD.

In flight, immediatly get a flight attendant. They will try to defuse the situation and resolve the problem. Heck, remember you're at 35,000 ft and it will take 15 to 30 minutes to get on the ground. The F/As will keep the captain informed and will also brief any LEO's that are onboard. If the conflict escalates, the captain will divert the plane to the nearest useable airport and the flight will be met by lots of law enforcement. One of my flights was greeted by 12 LEOs from 5 different departments (slow day, I guess). Threatening a anyone inflight is a federal offense with up to 18 months in the federal pen. Strike a crew member and they've just added "Interferance with a crew member" and possibly "Air Piracy" to the charges. The FBI will come and visit the person in their holding cell... eventually. I had a flight attendant punched by a passenger several years ago and I believe that the guy got 5 years of Federal hospitality.:p

March 8, 2006, 03:31 PM
The things you all worry about, how about relaxing and seeing the good side of life? How many times does that happen on a flight, one in a million?? You have a better chance of hitting the lottery.

You should have been at Islip MacArthur Airport back on the Monday following the weekend snow storm last month. I was there at 5:00 AM and the lunatics were in full swing. No Planes. Cancelled Flights. Hundereds on standby and only a handful of seats. Add to it that as of 11PM the night before SoutWest's website said everything was on time (although they did not have one plane and two days cancelled flights to make up) and you can imagine the tension. I saw several people who were a hair's breadth away from becoming violent. It took me 15 + hours and standby flights at three airports, any one of which I could have been stranded in) to get to Minneapolis. I took it in stride but others just can't handle it.

Airline travel can be very nerve wraking for some, especially those who do not do it often. You have NO CONTROL over where you are going and how you get there. You have to follow every command given to you. You reallly do not know when you will get anywhere and if your bags will make it. Any number of a thousand things can cancel, divert or delay your filight. Not the least of the problems are the fact that you are in an pressurized thin walled aluminum cigar at 35,000 feet travelling at 400+ mph loaded with explosive jet fuel and have spent the passed hour or two being told about the risks posed by terrorists wishing to blow you, the plane, and any building they can hit straight to hell. Then you get a speech about how you can use the oxygen system if the airplane decompresses and that the bag underneath your seat has a life vest that, IF you survive the water impact and manage to exit before sinking while 150+ screaming people attempt the same in smoke filled burning cabin, will allow you to float briefly before dying of hypothermia. This all combines to put people, especially the casual and infrequent traveller, in a possibly volatile emotional state.

I have seen people escorted from international flights for outbursts before leaving the gate, drunks and numerous other nut jobs. On non-violent fronts I have had two medical emergencies on flights, one requiring CPR and another airsickness so violent his pulse started dropping requiring an early landing (and a mop). Both survived. Travel enough and you run into them all.

I make my wife watch the show AIRLINE on A&E every once and a while. She sometimes talks about how nice it is for me to be able to travel. While watching the show I can always point out some part of one of those terminals where I have spent hours sleeping due to cancelled or delayed flights as well as the numerous lunatics and quirks of air travel I have been through.

Big Calhoun
March 8, 2006, 03:59 PM
Depends on my mood. If I had a couple of T10s and tonics before I got on the plane, then I advise the flight attendent of the situation...I can be a mean drunk.

If I'm 'straight', then I either ignore it or place a phoney call to my 'Captain' to 'check in'. Sounds corny but I once got a drunk guy to sit down and have a Coke and a smile after doing that. He was upset about something and kept muttering obscenities under his breath. Add to that he reeked of alcohol. So I got on the phone and alerted my 'Captain' that I was due to touch down @ 1530hrs and would require transportation, no need for additional security. After the widest-eyed look I have ever seen, he kind of turned towards the window and that was the last peep I heard out of him. Like I said, it's corny, but it works...sometimes. :D

March 8, 2006, 04:27 PM
If you get into a fight on an aircraft you can expect to be arrested at landing and be banned from the airline.
Tell the flight attendent and ask to be reseated.

March 8, 2006, 05:00 PM
maybe you should tell him you think his girlfriend was ugly and he own't miss her anyways and that you are just doing him a favor.

I'm sure that'll go over well.

But seriously, just tell the little moron that this is your seat, you want it, and if he has a problem he can talk to the flight attendant about it. If he gets threatening or physical, get up, tell the FA, and ask to be reseated. Avoid him when deboarding comes.

March 8, 2006, 08:26 PM
Uhhh...Make HIM go sit in the back and have a seat next to his HOT girlfriend.

If you're lucky maybe she'll keep talkin dirty...

March 8, 2006, 08:33 PM
Well, if I have to choose between sitting with a sweaty hippopotamus with no ill-will towards me or a very hostile bunghole...

I'd probably choose the hippo.

March 9, 2006, 12:19 AM
Wait til airborne then escort him to the door.

March 9, 2006, 07:57 AM
I would look passionately into his eyes, face to face, and ask him if he wanted to act out "Brokeback Airplane". That usually gets them to shut up. J/K. I just like to stare at people when they get hostile. Either it will escalate the situation and get it over with, or, they will see that you are not backing down, and in all "bully" situations I have been in, this method has worked fine. Then again I'm not a small statured male either. Just my .02.

March 9, 2006, 08:35 AM
I fly a lot for work and this comes up with me from time to time. Its my buck, it's my say usually the person sitting in your seat has little recourse...HOWEVER...if I'm flying alone I don't care where I sit. If it is a family with little kids (I rather sit with a 500lb guy in the back, then with crying babies), or a honeymoon couple..I give them a break, but the person should at least act like that are sorry to inconvience you.

If I'm flying with my family..Tough luck..I took the time and effort to have my family sitting together..especially after 9/11, I sit with the family in the aisle seat.

The British Soldier
March 9, 2006, 09:00 AM
Offer him your hand - there are no hard feelings. When you have it take hold of his little finger and persuade it the wrong way towards his elbow; by the time he starts sweating, which is virtually immediately, he will have thoroughly received the message you are sending. If you have never had this done to you (and I don't recommend you try it), allow me to assure that it is exquisite agony.

We Brits use it as a 'breakaway' method in arrest and restraint during riot control. If someone grabs your wrist or shirt; you'll never get their hand off easily, unless you go for that small finger (which is quite weak in the grip) and bend it back. It's amazing how quickly they let go and continue the movement to assert full control of them.

Alternately, on a more humourous level; ask for a cup of really hot coffee (MacDonald's temperature!) and knock it over into his lap. Childish, immature, many other great words apply - but very effective too in a 'passive-aggressive' kind of way! Just be hugely apologetic and enjoy the flight, knowing that his groin is on fire and he'll have to explain that stain away a few dozen times!

March 9, 2006, 09:48 AM
I would probably sit next to the fat guy, or ask the attendent for a seat upgrade (depending on how long the flight is), and let her deal with it.

I wouldn't get into an argument with the guy, and I certainly wouldn't get physical with him. Not worth the energy or trouble.

March 9, 2006, 10:51 AM
Never be the first to fight. I am the first to admit that in my earlier post I would defend myself physically from a nut job. I think it important to note something here though.

I would NEVER be the first to throw a punch. I also wouldn't shove, bump, twist fingers, stare down, or do anything in the least that may escalate the situation or be construed as a physical assault.

We are not talking about a restaurant, bar or street here people. This is a commercial airliner. Just like those of us who had siblings when younger or have multiple children now know how dad wants quiet and will duly punish all involved parties, the authorite WILL come donw on both involved parties unless you have clear proff from the aircrew and or multiple witnesses that you were not at fault. More than anywhere else you better leave your ego behind when you travel on commercial air.

Now if I see some guy trying to light a fuse in his shoe or such I am going to remove his arm from his body and beat him with the wet end, but at that point the stakes are far higher than a beligerent drunk.

March 9, 2006, 11:09 AM
I don't fly. When they started the show ID/arrive 5 hours early/take your shoes off/TSA crap I stopped. Haven't missed it yet.

March 9, 2006, 11:34 AM
My then-wife and I were on a Turkish Airlines DC-9 in 1979 in Istanbul. They had boarded us from the rear hatch, and we were in the next-to-last row.

There was a VERY drunk guy in the row ahead of us. Somehow he got the idea I had made a comment about him, probably because I was speaking in English.

He decided to turn around and make an issue of it just as the hatch was closed and the plane had started to move. I guess security was a major big deal in Turkey at the time, but for whatever reason, somehow his action got noticed just as it was registering to me that he wanted to rumble.

At that moment, the plane jerked to a stop. The hatch opened, and as soon as the stairs hit the ground, a very large and mean-looking woman stomped up them.

By then the guy was babbling something I didn't understand but that was making my Turkish wife raise her eyebrows.

The mean-looking woman grabbed the drunk by the armpits and yanked him out of his seat (he had no belt on) right across the lap of the aisle passenger in his row. She then literally dragged him to the hatch and disappeared with him. The hatch closed, the plane resumed taxiing immediately, and took off.

I have no idea how this got noticed and reacted to so fast. The whole thing could not have taken over one minute.

So I guess that if I were in this situation, I'd wish for that large, mean-looking woman to appear again.

Tim Burke
March 9, 2006, 05:03 PM
So I guess that if I were in this situation, I'd wish for that large, mean-looking woman to appear again.The tendency is always to go with what has worked for you before.