A pilot from a United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Puerto Vallarta diffused a political debate that occurred 35,000 feet in the air, inside the plane. The pilot got on the intercom and advised the offenders to stop arguing, going so far as to warn, “If you continue to fight, rant, and rave,…there’s another flight tomorrow, you aren’t going to be on this one.”
The actual speech of the pilot can be heard in this YouTube video.
In the description of the video, the uploader Jon Bauer, wrote “Some kinda scuffle broke out where an individual with a “plaid shirt and a camo cap” said something racist to an African American lady, and she began to cry and freak out.”
The Political Debate
According to CBS News, the two passengers involved in the incident were a white, male supporter of President-elect Donald Trump and an African-American woman.
Witnesses from the flight said that the man and woman were seated next to each other in the aircraft. The man was wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap, and reportedly said that he was “glad to have kept his guns” seemingly referring to Trump’s win.
The witnesses alleged that the particular comment sent the woman to an emotional meltdown. This resulted in a fight, which the flight attendants remedied by assigning them to different seats.
The Pilot-Peacekeeper Speech
A United Airlines plane sits on the runway. (Photo courtesy of United Continental Holdings, Inc)
After the pair were separated by the cabin crew, the pilot took to the intercom to address the elephant in the air, stating that their current location was not the place for such matters.
“I understand everybody has their opinions, [and] that’s fine,” the United Airlines captain said.
“If you support [Trump], great. If you don’t, I understand. However, we’re out here to go to Puerto Vallarta, [and we’re] supposed to be having a good time, [so] what I do ask is that as people we have the common decency to respect each others’ decisions and to get along on this three-hour and thirteen minute flight so that we can have a good time when we get down there,” he added.
He also added that expressing opinions in a volatile manner rarely changes anything.
“Let cooler heads prevail, and we can talk and realize that we’re all human beings, and we all can stick together and we can all feel for this country in our own way and that’s what we should do,” said the pilot in the video.
He closed by saying that a flight was available the day after for those who chose not to adhere to the rules inside the plane.
Passengers gave the pilot cheers and applause after the speech.
The Viral Video
In a statement emailed to Washington Post, Megan McCarthy, a spokeswoman from the airlines confirmed that there was indeed a confrontation. “Our pilot was attempting to diffuse an argument between two customers and get everyone safely to their destination,” the email read.
She further confirmed that no passenger was sent out, and that the plane landed safely at Puerto Vallarta at 3:06 p.m. on Friday. However, the airline asked the media to withhold the identities of the two passengers involved, and the pilot.
Meanwhile various videos of the incident, which have been viewed by more than half a million people, were met with different sentiments.
“Well, at least United keeps [passengers] united,” user Sye Ya commented. “Why can’t the United States do the same?”
On the other hand, YouTuber za146274 wrote, “Shut up and fly the plane. [Just] keep your opinion to yourself and get the passengers to their destination.”