Busta Rhymes Nearly Comes to Blows With Frequent Flyers Over Bin Space

Rapper Busta Rhymes was flying British Airways first class from New York JFK to London Heathrow on Monday on board flight BA112. When he boarded he found that a passenger in the middle of row 2 was using bin space above his aisle seat.

British Airways Boeing 777 First Class

Mr. Rhymes asked the woman to move her belongings out of the bin above his seat and over to the other side of the cabin. He wanted his stuff above his seat. She reportedly broke down in tears. Her husband stepped to, telling Busta not to be so rude. Busta refers to the husband as “home boy.”

That’s when a frequent flyer who posts to Flyertalk reports interceding. They exchanged words. The passenger in seat 4A gets the attention of flight attendants. The Cabin Services Director shows up and asks whether everyone was comfortable flying or would need to get off the flight. The captain made the decision to fly with everyone, including the esteemed Mr. Rhymes, still on board. They were 30 minutes delayed, and were met by police on arrival at Heathrow. Another poster who was on the flight corroborates the account.

Busta rhymes was traveling “with his handler and 6 members of his entourage” enroute to perform on Mykonos.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @Jr — please tell us what you propose. No black people can ever be painted in a bad light ever?

  2. @Jr — also, why do you focus on the person’s Blackness when the relevant traits are clearly fame, wealth, arrogance, and boorishness?

    It’s not possible you are racist, right?

  3. @Jr — This is a different Jason…the one that uses his real name, rather than hiding his identity behind a “handle” like “Jr.” Could you show me where in the above article Gary Leff says the individual in question is black? Perhaps it is merely that you think all rappers are black? Or all individuals names “Busta” are black? (Actually that may be true, but then again, I only know of one.) Rather, Gary refers to the individual in question by his name (“Busta” or “Mr. Rhymes”), and makes no reference to anyone’s color. As for the inclusion of the POSTER promoting his concert on Mykonos, well — yes, it’s shocking! — his picture is there, and OMG, he *is* black. Yet I did not take the inclusion of (a photograph of) the poster as “Hey, everyone — look! He’s black!” but rather proof of where he was traveling to and why.

    But perhaps you and I merely see the world differently…

  4. Only thing sillier than claiming the bin space directly over your seat is your exclusive domain would be two passengers in the same row, same side of the aisle, fighting over the same overhead bin. Have yet to see that in person but am sure it happens.

  5. I’m with Mr. Rhymes on this one. Unless the space above your seat is already full, that is what you should use. The woman was rude and inconsiderate in using the space above Mr. Rhyme’s seat when hers was available. It is one of those unwritten rules of travel.

  6. Hmm, I wonder if there was something valuable in Mr. Rhymes’ bag that he wanted to watch.

    I guess I do not understand the dynamic. Why was the woman in tears? Was she a drama queen or something? She brought her husband into it. Was she trying to get her husband into a fight? Was the husband doing the macho thing to prove he was a real man in front of his woman? If that was the case, I might have called the husband a home boy too.

    I am sure there is more to this story than meets the eye.

  7. While I wouldn’t throw a fit over it, I’d be peeved if someone used the overhead above me in first class as well. They have their own storage space.

  8. In professional football, the player that retaliates almost always gets the flag. Then the announcers pile on about how the player should be thrown out of the game and suspended. Then due to the uproar, the league investigates and tosses fines the player. Meanwhile the player that started it has a good chuckle. Maybe this is a similar situation.

  9. All Busta had to say was “Woo Hah!! Got You All In “Gate” Check” and the situation would have been under control.

  10. “She reportedly broke down in tears”

    Ugh. Can’t stand women like this who cry when they don’t get their way.

  11. @Jason Brandt Lewis: “Could you show me where in the above article Gary Leff says the individual in question is black?”

    There’s a rather sizable picture of him.

  12. @ Gary — Clear racism here. Clearly, DJT’s fault. I hope this is given adequate time in this week’s debates.

  13. If you showed a BA 747 instead of a 777 you would realise that the middle seats don’t have overhead lockers

  14. My PARENTS were fans of Busta Rhymes! He must be in his 50s, and he’s still doing rap concerts?

  15. Does it say “Busta Rhymes” on his passport?
    About 10 years ago I flew Virgin Atlantic LGW-LAS with Penn and Teller in the two seats between me.
    I SPOKE WITH Teller, lol, and he showed me his passport that had only TELLER in it.
    I can’t recall if it was listed as first, last , or middle name, but he apparently legally changed his name.

  16. Sal–Flyertalk explains all of this in great detail with reports from several passengers witnessing the entire incident.

    The woman boarded first. Her assigned middle seat has no bin above it, so she stored her belongings appropriately. Since bins are not assigned per seat, and since Mr. Rhymes was the last to board, he had no right to demand (and the witnesses on the flight say that is what happened) that she move her belongings. She had as much right to that bin as he did.

    Nevertheless SHE did move her things, and yet Mr. Rhymes continued to be loud about all of this. She became visibly upset. The woman’s husband stood up for her. Then Mr. Rhymes became more abusive. That is when other passengers called for help.

    In general, the fellow passengers feel BA did not handle this correctly. Instead of booting the person who was behaving badly, they put the onus on the other passengers. They offered the other passengers a later flight. All stayed on board because they needed to make connections (although some may have missed them because Mr. Rhymes behavior delayed the flight), but at least one passenger was firm. He requested a) a talk with the captain and b) that police meet the flight on arrival. That passenger did not meet his next connection because he thought it was very important that the right thing should have been done. The police greeted the plane on the other end.

    Doing the right thing has nothing to do with sex or race. Being abusive is wrong in any universe.

  17. This is behavior of someone that thinks their privileged and the world revolves around him. The poster Jr. immediately went for the race baiting aspect. Thats ridiculous, race was never mentioned as an issue between the parties involved. All races can be boorish, and it sounds like old Busta was giving it his all.

  18. @Jack….did you actually READ what I wrote above? OK, I’ll repeat: “As for the inclusion of the POSTER promoting his concert on Mykonos, well — yes, it’s shocking! — his picture is there, and OMG, he *is* black. Yet I did not take the inclusion of (a photograph of) the poster as ‘Hey, everyone — look! He’s black!’ but rather proof of where he was traveling to and why.”


    You can argue this entire thread is a waste of bandwidth. (I’d even agree.) But if you’re going to argue that this is racist because the gentleman in question is black, as opposed to a rich, self-entitled boor, you might as well accuse the woman of “playing the female card” because she “burst into tears.”

    We, the readers of this blog, were not on the flight. We do not know, word-for-word, what Mr. Rhymes said to the anonymous woman that resulted in her tears. We do not know, word-for-word, what her husband said, other than something related to *not being so rude* — one can *infer* that Mr. Rhymes said something other than, “Excuse me, ma’am, but would you mind moving your things to a different bin. I would prefer to have my things close to me.” (Presumably it was his rudeness that caused the woman to cry, but perhaps she was simply being overly sensitive.) We do know a third party felt compelled to intercede, both directly with Mr. Rhymes *and* by getting the attention of the FA. (Perhaps he wasn’t a fan of rap, though I suspect it’s more likely he wasn’t a fan of what Mr. Rhymes said to the couple.)

    At any rate, everyone arrived at LHR safely and in one piece. Ergo, this is much ado about nothing… other than the fact I find the thought of BA passengers in F acting more like they’re on Ryanair… ;^)

  19. @ Worried in Flight — I wouldn’t have moved my stuff. Too bad for Mr. Rhymes. He can board early if he wants a particular bin. I’m sure he could pull the DYKWIA card and board first with his entourage.

  20. For those of you wondering what the rest of the story is, go to the links in this blog post. All the details are there, written by the witnessing passengers, including that the woman in question had no bin above her seat.

  21. I think Gary would be well served to replace the 777 F cabin picture with a 747 F cabin picture to demonstrate why the overhead bin space issue arose in the first place as there are no overhead bins for the center seats in a 747.

  22. When I have to share an overhead bin with other passengers, I try to use the bin across the aisle from my seat as I have a better view of the bin while seated. If you use the bin over your seat, and others are accessing it during flight, you can not usually see exactly what they are accessing. By using the bin opposite from me, I generally have a full view. As others mention, overhead bin is unassigned boarding last (which can not always be avoided) gives you last choice.

  23. Can’t help but wonder if the woman cried at the sight of a large black man being not so friendly. Would she have cried if Busta were white? Would any of the presumably white passengers (yes, this is an assumption) who reported feeling threatened have not felt threatened if Busta were white? Would they have interpreted Busta’s behavior differently if he were white? THese are all fair questions. You all assume Busta was “threatening” in his behavior because a collection of white folks said so.

    Bias is real.

  24. Putting aside Mr. Rhymes unacceptable behavior, the overhead bin situation is always YMMV.
    If there are no bins above the middle seats then the nearest bin across is fair game and it’s first come first serve. If everyone has bins above then common courtesy and etiquette suggests you should first take the bin above your seat. That being said I sometime have to take the opposite bin if a passenger in my row has already taken the bin. Also on some aircraft my 21″ rollaboard will only fit on one side or the other, so that’s where it goes.

    Certainly I can empathize with Mr. Rhymes when I find my overhead completely filled by a passenger – and more so if the passenger is a few rows off or has 4 carryon pieces. But from the facts it appears the woman had every right to put her luggage where she did. And once she caved Mr. Rhymes should have said thank you and left it at that. But he probably wanted to show off in front of his peeps

  25. I am guessing Rhymes had something valuable in his bag. Who knows. Total conjecture: maybe $5G in cash, diamond jeweler, performance hoodie and was not willing to be separated from it. Totally hypothetical: Maybe the woman said something really nasty to him. He respond, maybe called her a hoe. She melodramatically burst into tears. The husband stood up and said leave my wife alone. Rhymes responded “What are you doing to do about it, home boy.”

    Maybe Rhymes could have handled it better. Maybe the woman could have handled it better.
    WTH, almost anything can be handled better with 20-20 hindsight.

    I have never seen a outright fight overhead space. Therefore, I think there might be more to this story than reported.

  26. @Boraxo: Actually, you don’t want the bin above your seat — because you can’t watch it being opened. You want the bin across the aisle, one seat in front, giving you most likely a clear sight line to me as I steal from your bag (at night).

  27. @ L3 — I think we are the only two people in the world who thought of this. I get crazy looks from people every time I fly because I put my bags in the overhead bin across from my seat, not above my seat. My husband fusses at me for storing my bag this way.

  28. What is one to do on some of the 787’s or Qatar where certain center seats have NO overhead storage?

  29. @Jr

    No one mentioned black person you asshole, it haas nothing to do with this story, can’t anyone criticise or comment on black people anymore you fool because they don’t know how to behave?

    Give yourself an almighty upper-cut. People like you sicken me.

    And think about this Jr , in about a year or so when Buster whoever’s 15 minutes in fame are up, he’ll become a victim, probably a druggie, if he’s not already, living on the Demcrats controlled streets of Los Angeles or San Francisco…..

  30. mmmm….

    I wonder how many people even knew Mr Rhymes had an upcoming appearance on Mykonos were it not for this free PR

    Just saying

  31. @Skepta – probably very few, but how is this free PR any good?

    Are you saying the concert was looking for more attendees and Busta Rhymes was hoping to attract a crowd that enjoys acting up in classy settings?

  32. Sounds like he didn’t handle it well but it does tend to irritate the crap out of me when I get to my assigned seat and someone from another row has filled the bin over my seat with their luggage – instead of the one right over or beside their assigned seat. I don’t even understand that logic but maybe that was the only space near her?? That is one of the reasons I don’t want a middle row seat.

  33. @Angela: The logic is that those of us who have experienced theft from our bags in an overhead locker, especially on British Airways, one can keep an eye on the baggage, one cannot do that when it is directly above. With the current state of the UK, it is even more relevant

  34. @robbo :”No one mentioned black person you asshole, it haas nothing to do with this story, can’t anyone criticise or comment on black people anymore you fool because they don’t know how to behave?”

    Keep typing. Your inner KKK can’t help but come out. “They” sure have problems behavin’ them “black people.” It has everything to do with this story because people like you deny it has anything to do with it when the racism is dripping from your tongue, waiting to spew out.

  35. @Jay. That would be the same KKK that started as the military arm of the Democrat party, the ultimate party of racists embodied today by race hustlers whose goal is a permanent underclass of uneducated poor. The only people that see race in this are racists like you.

  36. I think it’s very interesting that people are focusing on the emotional response from a woman rather than the man’s poor behavior. There is a lot of sexism in these comments.

  37. Over several years, I often read Gary’s blogs and reader comments.

    Gary’s blogs generally included helpful and interesting facts related to travel.

    However, without a doubt, many of the comments left about this incident are hateful and bigoted.

    If those negative responses represent today’s society, it is no wonder our country is so divided

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