United Pilot Removed After Showing Up Late in Plain Clothes and Going on Bizarre Rant

Last night the pilot of a United flight from Austin to San Francisco was removed after showing up out of uniform, in plain clothes, and entering the cabin to make a bizarre rant in front of passengers about her divorce, the election (she didn’t support Trump or Clinton), and make a book recommendation.

She apologized for being late, polled passengers on whether they minded that she was out of uniform, and promised that she’d be letting her co-pilot fly so that passengers didn’t need to be nervous about her (and emphasizing that ‘he’s a man‘).

Passengers were deciding to deplane. Eventually police came onboard.

The most famous man on the internet last night and this morning, @undeadsinatra, was live-tweeting the incident.

He even had video which he’s since taken down. But he shares the pilot taken off the flight.

His best line of the night? “That was scary as f-. Back to the @united lounge for relaxing cheese cubes.”

BuzzFeed News posted video of the rant from another passenger, who eventually made their video private on YouTube but is still available in that Buzzfeed article.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about the whole situation is that United found a new captain, and the plane made it to San Francisco only an hour and a half delayed.

This is hardly the first time something like this has happened, for instance there was the JetBlue flight from New York to Las Vegas where passengers had to take down the pilot (who had to be tricked by the co-pilot to leave the cockpit).

And there was the Southwest pilot ranting to his co-pilot while accidentally broadcasting his very not safe work for and highly offensive diatribe over ATC:

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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. UA has 12,000 pilots. Mental stuff happens. Glad she didn’t fly.

    BTW, are pilots trained to report unusual behavior by their colleagues? Or is there more of a code of secrecy? Like if this pilot had been acting a bit odd on her previously flights, would her first officer likely have said something to a supervisor?

    It’s obviously rare, but we have had situations of mentally unstable pilots killing their passengers.

  2. Well she was flying from Austin 🙂
    Seriously it’s sad. I would be surprised if she ever pilots another commercial aircraft. Job over, career, sound like family. Too bad.

  3. The pilot should have been removed. Her judgement was obviously in question and she needs to be disciplined. Flying a plane is a serious job that requires professionalism and there is no place for an unstable individual in the cockpit.

  4. She is not having a mental break down. Watch the video on live leak. She is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

  5. OMG! Saw the video of her ‘speech’. First thought was of the ill-fated GermanWings flight! It was a good thing she made her state of mind known BEFORE the flight took off! OMG! Hope her license is yanked for good. Frightening to even think what could have taken place in that cockpit after they got airborne! OMG!

  6. It is ridiculous to say that this pilot’s license should be permanently revoked or even be disciplined due to an incident of mental instability, if indeed those comments were serious. If that were the case pilots having mental problems would never ever self report (which is basically what this pilot did) and would try to hide their problems and continue to fly. That’s where the real danger lies. Pilots and anyone else going through these difficulties need to see a professional and get professional treatment. The airline needs to know about this unlike in the German Wings situation. Once healthy, the pilots should go on with their careers just as someone who gets over cancer can go on with his or her career.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *