This morning’s Hawaiian Airlines flight 7 from Las Vegas to Honolulu made it out over the Pacific Ocean, dumped fuel, and diverted to LAX because a passenger objected to being asked to pay $12 for a blanket.
He asked a flight attendant for the phone number to call the airline to complain. They gave it to him. He told a seatmate “they’re not treating me right. I’m going to call the president,” and he reportedly said to crew “I would like to take somebody behind the woodshed for this.”
According to the man’s seat opponent, the flight attendant interpreted that as ‘threatening the pilot’.
They diverted the plane and law enforcement came onboard to take the man in seat 42A off the plane.
Since the flight landed before expected — albeit in Los Angeles, not Hawaii — the Hawaiian Airlines website calls this an ‘early arrival’.
Even accounting for that diversions always take longer than you’d expect, the flight took a surprisingly long time — over four hours — to get back in the air and is still enroute to Honolulu as I write this.
The man taken off the plane wasn’t arrested and won’t be charged. He arranged alternate transportation with another airline back to Hawaii. Since the delay in Los Angeles was more than four hours, depending on the credit card he had used to purchase his tickets, he might have had an interesting trip delay claim had he chosen to overnight rather than continuing.
Ultimately I think it’s actually kind of nice that Hawaiian has blankets available for sale. Passengers can of course bring their own. Still, $12 for an airline blanket does seem a bit much unless it’s new United Polaris bedding or perhaps one of the super soft Etihad first class blankets.
The crew here seem to have overreacted however.