Police Physically Remove Delta Passenger From Flight After Overhead Bin Space Altercation

Fox 13 Tampa reporter Kellie Cowan was on Delta flight DL2646 from Tampa to New York LaGuardia this evening, and shared video of a situation unfolding.

A passenger on the aircraft apparently lost it when someone else had their bags in the overhead bin above his seat and there wasn’t room for his belongings. He wound up forcibly removed because of it.

He began removing and throwing another passenger’s items from the bin above his seat, a Delta spokesperson said.

The airline said he was “hostile” and “aggressive” with other customers.

…“Sir, are you going to get off the aircraft or am I going to have to use force?” an officer asks.

“I don’t think you should have to use force,” the man replies.

Suddenly, an officer grabs the passenger by the back of the neck, in an attempt to force him out of his seat.

Here’s the confrontation between the passenger and police officers responding. At the end of the video police appear to put the man in a choke hold and then physically him out of the seat.

And here he’s being removed from the aircraft as he declares himself to be an officer as well:

According to Delta “the passenger repeatedly refused requests to de-plane, the crew requested law enforcement assistance to ensure the safety and comfort of our customers.”

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. Not sure what an airline employee can do if a customer is acting like an erratic, threatening jackass /other than/ call the police?

    If you want to argue that police resort to violence entirely too early, I’m with ya, but what was Delta supposed to do? Allow this guy to violently empty other people’s belongings into the aisle? Ask FAs/other pax to subdue him?

  2. Not going to lie…..I feel for the guy. Not the whole refusing to leave but I have always felt that if you get to your seat and the bins above it are full and not by others on your row that you should be able to remove those that don’t belong there and send them to cargo. If they don’t need the items enough to keep them at their own seat then they are obviously not that important. I carry my medication in my carry on and that I why I carry it. If I have to put in on the other side of the plane then that is an issue for me. I just feel that if it was enforced that you could only use the bin above your own seat then it would cut down on several issues.

  3. Why there arent enough overhead spaces available in the first place for any airlines on coach anyway? That always piss me off. I obey the rule of one bag the airlines say. When I get in, just full of other people’s stuffs.

  4. My guess is that this guy won’t garner much sympathy, but other than the more reasonable use of force by the police, what’s really the difference between him and Dr. Dao? If I were him, I would have made them drag me. Better chance of a payout. If you’re going to be a jerk with police on an airplane, you might as well go full Dr. Dao.

  5. I have absolutely ZERO sympathy for this passenger. ZERO. In fact, I think he should

  6. It’s about time that they start charging for carry-ons and policing them. Only in the USA you get such a stressful boarding.

  7. The guy needed to be removed from the plane if he was grabbing people’s stuff and throwing it. I do not understand why the police officer had to yell in the guy’s face. The cop was much more aggressive than the passenger in the video. Its almost like he wanted to use force. This is the problem with police today. They don’t try to deescalate at all. When dealing with a drunk you can usually get control over them by being very calm etc. Instead what I saw was a lot of yelling and provoking a confrontation and then use of physical force. They couldn’t have taken a minute to try to talk the guy off the plane before they started yelling at him?

  8. @Iahphx: i dont think Dr. Dao threw other peoples stuff around. I hope your closed mind will finally see the difference.

  9. @Mr Who great question. I suspect that there is not enough room for every passenger to put a carry-on and you also have the situation with the jerks who bring more than one carry-on on board. I feel if someone is caught trying to sneak on extra baggage they should be forced to check all their bags and pay the fees. Then maybe people will learn to follow the rules and stop being soo selfish. There is also less bin space on domestic vs international flights depending on the plane used. Either way if the guy had a problem he should have spoken to a FA and since he was acting up and drunk he needed to go.

  10. @iahphx Dr. Dao was just sitting there minding his own business when they told him he had to get off the plane and give up a seat he had paid for. Not even close to comparable.

  11. I’d like to think that people who read this blog are a little smarter than the average Trumpanzee, but to not know the difference between a violent and abusive passenger and a polite Doctor asserting his right to stay and fly in the seat he paid for when he’d done absolutely nothing wrong is pretty stupid even for the 1/3 of America who are deemed by the entire world to be the stupidest people on the planet..

  12. The guy should of asked an attendant to find a space for his stuff, not throw a temper tantrum and throw people’s stuff. Granted the airlines do a poor job in policing people regarding their belongings. Need to start charging for more than 1 carry on. Too many people bring too much stuff. Police too rough? Dont know U wasnt there but I do agree its their job to descalate the problem than make it worse.

  13. You know what solves a lot of our society’s problems? Listen to the damn cops when they instruct you to do something! It’s a basic idea that keeps getting ignored and leads to all these internet videos that start half way through the event that are posted just to cause controversy. Bottom line is people just complied, there would be VERY few incidents with cops on the planes or streets.

  14. Why is the FA didn’t offer the passenger to check his bag or put the bag somewhere available? In another continent, FA didn’t just welcomed the passenger. They also help manage the overhead bin. They help manage seat (for confused passenger or groups).

    The level of service and attentiveness of FA sure is very very low in US3 domestic…..

  15. Why do snow flake liberals always lose there mind when they dont get what they want?

    Just sucks it up butter cup, we all have to deal with things in life.

  16. I need to add that the Dr. was asked to leave the plane respectfully, instead of being an adult about it and handling the situation, he acted like a child. So I have no sympathy for him, he is a prime example of a snow flake liberal. On that note the man who removed him was also not in a legal position to forcefully remove him. Still the Dr. problem when his head was busted, should have just gotten up.

  17. Very unruly and disrespectful. Kinda like those sore loser Snowflake Liberals you see at all the useless rallies.

  18. OK, how about Delta enforcing these crew members’ instructions: “Put your larger items in the overhead bin, and your smaller items on the floor under the seat in front of you.” People are pigs in the way they put stuff in the overhead bins. Once their stuff is in, they don’t give a damn about the person further down the line. Occasionally, (very occasionally), I will see a crew member trying to straighten out overhead space, putting stuff in more efficiently, or making room for a few extra bags, but by far, most put a blind eye to how inefficiently people put their luggage in the overheads — and definitely a blind eye to not following the above instructions they give upon boarding. We don’t really know what happened before this video was shot. I don’t have any sympathy for this guy if he threw other people’s stuff on the floor. But think about this: this whole situation COULD HAVE BEEN AVERTED if Delta crew members enforced the rule above, which they announce on all flights many times during boarding. (I am a Diamond Medallion and am usually one of the first to board, but on tight connections, I too worry about overhead space. and OVERHEAD SPACE PIGS definitely anger me too!)

  19. Lol Don. It’s first come first served buddy! You shouldn’t book such tight connections if you’re lugging so much crap you can’t find a spot for it somewhere.

  20. I’m surprised airlines haven’t started to deplane the whole plane when they have a forced removal on their hands to limit their liability and negative exposure.

    The airlines could resolve this by charging for ALL carry on bags and granting one free checked bag, give card holders the one free carry on instead.

  21. @Bill — The evidence does not support your position that Dr. Dao was some sort of freedom fighter while this gentleman is the anti-Christ. Both men resisted legitimate crew member instructions and got belligerent. As the officer in the video said, they were removed for “trespassing” on the airline’s property. Who’s to say that being pissed about having to give up your seat for flight crew is “more reasonable” than not having a reasonable place to stow your luggage after you’ve bought a ticket? But positions are arguably “reasonable.” What is unreasonable is the way both passengers handled the situation. When the police tell you to get off a plane, you get off a plane. You can assert “your rights” afterwards.

  22. @Frank, does it make you feel good to pounce and put other people down? You presume to know a lot about me, when in fact you know nothing. First, I don’t book tight connections, I book extra long connections. Second, sometimes shit happens (you know, flight delays, etc), and even the best laid plans go bad and connections do become tight. Third, I’m not “lugging so much crap” around — I only have one back pack. Fourth, I have always found space in the overhead bins – even with a tight connection. I just happen to care about others, and you apparently only care about yourself (“first come first served buddy”). Hey, I hope one day I see you disobeying the flight crew’s instructions of “place the bigger item in the overhead and put the smaller item under the seat in front of you” and hope they bounce you off the plane for disobeying a crew members order. I’ll have my video camera ready. LOL

  23. The airlines guarantee you a seat on the aircraft. Not overhead space. Once all bins are full, unfortunately, they have to gate check bags. Simply not enough room on the aircraft. Brace yourselves, everyone. its time for Summer travelers. lol.

  24. What is there to understand? Seat number does not equal bin space directly over your seat. If it did, bins would be 3 suitcases deep to accommodate the 3 passengers in each row which they obviously aren’t. If your precious souvenirs, Vuitton bag, or pharmacy full of vital medications can’t fit under the seat in front of you when there’s no space above, remember it’s simple physics and not some other passenger’s bag that’s the problem.

  25. For those sneering at folks wanting overhead bin space: if the pax in question was in Economy Comfort, he paid extra–either with cash or status–for that convenience. When you don’t get what you pay for, do you just suck it up and go away? ( IME the flight attendants always put their stuff there, despite the prominent labels reserving the space for Economy Comfort customers, but that’s another topic.)

  26. The guy was out of line. But I do get annoyed as well with people who have three 3, 4 and 5 carry on items or full size luggage, I was on a flight 20 years ago, where a person had a small carryon with no overhead space the FA said they would have to door check it, the PAX said wait a minute I have to door check it, what about all of this full size stuff in these overheads. The FA said you know your right and announced all persons with multiple carry-ons and out if size carry on luggage would have to bring it forward if not they would do it for them without tags. it was quiet for a few seconds and the FA’s started opening all overheads and saying whose is this, it must be door checked, a few people were grumbling and the FA’s said look we do not have time for this, you know the rules.

    I commend those FA’s who enforce the rules on over size or to many carry-on items. each PAX is should have some overhead space and those who think they are special need a reality check.

  27. Why do 500 pound rednecks hicks who vote against their own economic interests, completely wiping out the US middle class, think they are funny calling liberals snowflakes? The whole world has seen you at the Trump rallies and know that you are the most hideously fat racist waddlers on the planet – hated universally worldwide by all decent people – yet you call names of the entire modern young generation from which you have absolutely zero support – what does that tell you, fat geezer hicks?

  28. I think many of these posts are pathetic and offer a major insight as to why we as a nation have lost our civility. The passenger was an as*hole … period. Overhead space does run out, some people are pigs. But deal with it civilly.

    This will be my last post ever on this blog. The venom that spews in these comments is revolting. Grow up people … and remember that manners and etiquette still matter.

    @GaryLeff. I’m done with this blog, your skewed (or skewering) views, and many readers’ vitriol.

  29. A real tightrope for Gary to walk.. increase hits and comments by allowing the radical fringe leftists to continue with the vitriolic ad hominem vs. driving away those of us readers looking for a travel blog.

  30. Anyone using the rightist lingo “Radical leftist fringe” is from the right wing fringe, which in this country is the farthest right it gets in the world. The anti-Trump sentiment you read here is the mainstream position of the world, every university, every mainstream media outlet, the vast majority 90-95% of the world’s population. What you’ve done is used smear against Hillary to steal another election which lost the popular vote by 3 million votes, horrifying the world with the most extreme rightism seen since Adolf Hitler, and think you’ll bully people into complying. After Bush the world wondered how much stupider the US could get. You’ve now shown us you rednecks are stupid enough to elect an thinly veiled Russian agent. Enjoy your fall. The world stands united against YOU!

  31. often times it the flight attendants bags taking up the overhead bins. It can be really enoying..

    Maybe it was 🙂

  32. For the record, the Delta flight attendant offered to assist and relocate the carry on bag of that obnoxious passenger. The loud mouthed miscreant not only refused, but cursed out the flight attendant, as well as the lady, whom the bag belonged to. Flying is stressful enough, without having such freaks on an aircraft. It was better that he was thrown off while the flight it was still on the ground, than to have a commotion at 30,000 feet. Flight attendants are not trained to be pugilists, or to be proficient in karate. There is no room on any commercial aircraft, for such a threatening passenger. Incidentally, there were some of you who didn’t like the alleged loud tone of the cop. The cop did not start off being loud. However, the passenger was deliberately baiting him, and was hoping to force a confrontation; possibly, he thought that he might get some money, as Dr. Dao did. Her deserved to get thrown off; in addition, he should have been charged with interfering with a flight crew, which is a federal crime. I have no sympathy for such two legged animals. It is bad enough that we get hassled by ticket agents, gate agents, the TSA, etc. We certainly don’t have to put up with aggressive passengers who start physical and verbal altercations on aircraft, as well as passengers who push, lean on other passengers, while seated, don’t use deodorant, kick other passengers seats, are loud, and yak on cellphones, or are otherwise slobs. Otherwise, it is an absolute delight to fly domestically on any commercial flight in the USA.

  33. This carry on has gotten out of control. After 9/11 no carry ons were permitted except for baby stuff and briefcases. The charges for checked baggage should be changed w 1 free bag and $100.00 for carry on that would stop all of this plus carry on are to be placed in the overhead above your swat so if your in the back that is where it goes not in the front

  34. I think you should get ONE small person item and have to pay for a carry on– in fact pay MORE than you would if you checked it. People bring too much stuff on board because they are selfish, don’t think the rules apply to THEM or are just so cheap they can’t pay for a service.

    You should always assume that there is no overhead bin space period. If you have medicine then carry it in a personal item and stow it under the seat in front of you or carry it in your pocket. Stop acting like pigs.

  35. Understand why he was annoyed but like everything in life…..pick your battles.
    Cheese n frackers….

  36. That is why passengers are suppose to put smaller carry on below infront of their seats so there’s enough room for everybody’s roller boards…. ppl get greedy and put all their carry on in the overhead bins takes up all the space including coats, jackets, bags, school bags, purse and what not…

  37. Christopher Lemp
    Still has nothing To do with race.

    Here is my come t i promised you on the Migos. DELTA FLIGHT ISUUE

  38. I check my rollerboard and only bring my laptop on the plane. I put my laptop bag in the overhead bin above me . I have diamond medalion status so I board very early. This does not make me a pig if I only bring one computer bag on the plane and I put it in the overhead bin. I am most often on business travel and am on an expensive fare. I used to always get upgraded,, but delta has made that more difficult now

    So is there somebody out there who says that even as a diamiond on an $1100-$1500 ticket, I should not be able to place one single small item in the overhead bin ?

  39. Exaggeration and the “Red Line” is what many americans do not understand or are not even aware of. As a Eurasian who lived in both Europe and Asia for many years, I have never seen overly aggressive airline staffs and authorities forcefully removing elderly passengers who was just complaining about not having enough space in his overhead bin to put his carry on baggage. This is why in Europe and in Asia, people used to say that americans are crazy, rude and everything they do is an exaggeration in many ways. This is one of the biggest problems especially in North America. Arguing is part of human conversation and in this situation, it is also inevitable. Customers are always right like the sayings go but in the US this traditional mentality is no longer working maybe because they don’t even have a culture and a strong traditions so this is why they lack civility and I believe that this is also due to decayment of USA. That country is dying and many people are stressed too.

    To be honest, in this case, using force is not necessary at all. This man had to save his face too because he felt that he did not do anything wrong and he does not deserve this kind of treatment. In Europe and in Asia we would have said that they treated this elderly man like an animal who is also a client of this airline. It seems like respecting clients with dignity is non-existent nowadays in the US. No sane-minded person would agree to this kind of ugly behaviour and ill treatment of this passenger. Come on!

    Above all, there is no justification for the officers to be provoking this gentleman by yelling at him and threatened to use excessive force to remove him. This still reminds me of the case of Doctor David Dao who was removed by force on United airline and he had good reason to argue because he did not want to miss that flight too since he is a surgeon who needs to quickly fly to go and see his dying patient at the ER which could be a matter of life and death. If they learn to have a normal civil conversation for at least 2-3 minutes then this could be avoided but not like this especially when you already have an angry elderly passenger who is maybe above 50 years old and cannot find enough space for his carry on bag inside his overhead bin. In Europe, we would have said that this is clearly an exaggeration and officers are very aggressive even in the way they talk; almost like as if they really wanted to use force and have no patience to talk for at least 2-3 minutes at all. This is why I would never go and live in the US again and I would never take any airlines that are american or owned by US after my own horrible experience on United airline and after what I saw in these kind of videos on Youtube including ugly incident at US embassy. It seems to me that in the US, people can no longer have normal civil conversation without using force. This also reminds me of the rude idiots at US embassy that had mistreated me and denied my visa last time just because I was arguing for 20 seconds about bank statement and asking questions with no provocation which was my rights to do so and I had good reason to be concern about delaying my flight due to mandatory orientation that would start within only 10 days. They treated me like crap for apparently no reason and they did not apologize in which I demanded later on email. They also failed to give a rational explanation to why my visa was radically overturned from 221g to 214b status. Their decision and action was neither valid nor legal. That is called BULLY and BS. I wasn’t even saying that I cannot bring my bank statement but Christ all mighty, they just yelled at me, bullied me or threatened to deny my visa right away and then they shut the curtain in front of my face and left their chair without explaining and without giving further instructions. What is this madness anyway?!! What is wrong with these americans? (Of course, I’m not saying that all americans are like this but unfortunately many americans are rude than many Europeans and even than many Asians based on my observation or past horrible experiences and statistics) Oh my Goodness! This is unacceptable and absolute joke! They acted crazy and extremely rude or as if they are Gods in which nobody can even argue for like 10-20 seconds and they have too much power or privilege as well. It looks just like an abuse of authority power. That is totally stupid, childish, unprofessional and counter-productive especially when their country is already bankrupt to the bone and how does that bring more money to their bankrupt economy? Most foreign investors do not really give a crap for USA nowadays so they must be lucky if they can still find somebody like me who was still willing to go there. I also bet that freedom of speech is no longer working in the US. If these US diplomats are not very civil and not being respectful then I would not be surprise to see cases like this one happening on a US airline. They are all CRAZY! They really need a quick medical attention!! It’s time for us to boycott them!!!

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