Woman’s Tirade During Medical Emergency Brings Flight Attendant to Tears

A Spirit Airlines flight from Houston to Minneapolis diverted to Rochester, Minnesota, because of a medical emergency. A man onboard slipped into a coma during the flight.

A flight delay is one thing, a diversion is another, it raises the stress level of passengers who are going to miss important events at their destination (and with many airlines, connections). But I think we’d all hope that if we needed emergency medical attention that would be the priority, so it requires extra forbearance from everyone on board.

One woman though didn’t see it that way. After landing she “marched up and down the aisle and launched a profanity-laced and threatening tirade.” Things got so bad that “at least one flight attendant was in tears after the incident and that other crew members handed out tissues to passengers who were crying.”

“She was yelling at the two gentlemen that were trying to block her — it was very scary,” Washington told ABC News. “She would just not stop, and as police escorted her off the aircraft continued to remain belligerent.”

“All I could think about was the children on the aircraft — I said a prayer,” Washington added. “You just didn’t know what she was going to do. We were very much scared and shaken by her behavior.”

Here’s video of the incident:

According to Spirit,

On the ground in Rochester, another passenger became erratic and irate and was removed from the aircraft with the assistance of law enforcement. We apologize to our Guests who had to witness this and for the inconvenience of the delay. Safety if our top priority at Spirit Airlines.

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. What do you expect… Spirit is like the public transport of the skies. Anything you would normally see on the subway or bus you will see on Spirit.

  2. By year’s end you should do a digest on what has happened onboard spirit flights. Just for lol’s.

  3. That’s awful. i hope Spirit doesn’t ban her from flying, I’d hate to see her on any flights I take.

  4. I’ll play devil’s advocate here, as i feel bad for this woman. In my (admittedly unqualified) opinion, this behavior seems like either unmedicated mental illness or pure panic that made her snap. Maybe she’s claustrophobic and in her view, NEEDS to get off that plane?

    Either way, seeing someone in that state who clearly needs help makes me sad.

  5. Something else that concerns me is a flight attendant being brought to tears. First off, this woman’s tirade is nothing we’ve not seen before, and she could be easily subdued with minimal force. She’s not even particularly physically aggressive. Words can’t hurt you, folks. Secondly, with all this BS we’re force-fed from airlines about how FAs are there “primarily for [our] safety”, I don’t believe an FA crying during a time of actual need is reinforcing that notion. The instant I see an FA crying I cease to accept that they’re remotely capable of handling an emergency and they’ve now become a liability to the entire plane. I’m not sure how to remedy the situation but if the emotional rigors of being an FA are too much for someone, they shouldn’t be in the air. Fire her? Discpline her? I don’t know…but she shouldn’t be “there for my safety” if she can’t handle a woman having an emotional meltdown.

  6. @gary – you should remove the video. The woman is having a meltdown and is more than likely related to an illness. More than likely she will be horrified when she is back on center and sees what she did. I’m with @Matt on this.

  7. Please remove it.

    It is unfortunate that people on the plane had to witness this woman’s suffering.

    I don’t see why she should be further embarrassed and exposed in public , nor why anyone would want to see it.

    To the woman, we all have bad days. I hope that you are better now. If not yet, i hope that you get some help and are better soon.

  8. That’s not a woman in the video.

    That’s Zach Honig after he didn’t get a candied orange peel in his Old Fashioned on United.

  9. No excuses for launching profanity tirade and berating flight crew…not to mention threatening other passenger’s safety. Hopefully, having the video posted online will motivate the woman to learn to control herself when facing a difficult situation.

  10. That doesn’t look like any panic attack I’ve seen. That looks like a plain old temper tantrum, maybe too much to drink. People with panic attacks are scared, they don’t want to draw attention to themselves, much more likely to pass out than get angry. Nevertheless, I would have gotten her off the plane immediately because of the distress she’s causing other passengers.

  11. @ greg WRONG!!! This lady is clearly an obama voter p.o.’d she lost her “free” obama phone. It’s ALWAYS the left throwing temper tantrums when they can’t get their way.


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