Feb 12 United Airlines replaced a pilot
before takeoff on Saturday after she boarded in civilian clothes
and told passengers over the intercom that both Donald Trump and
Hillary Clinton were liars and that she was getting a divorce,
The airline on Sunday declined to identify the pilot or
comment beyond a previous statement apologizing to customers,
many of whom left the plane out of concern for their safety.
The flight from Austin, Texas, to San Francisco took off
with a new pilot about 90 minutes late, passengers said.
"She shows up dressed like a civilian and asked us to take a
vote to see whether we should have her change into her uniform
or fly as is," passenger Pam O'Neal told KPIX television upon
landing in San Francisco.
"She started off by saying that she had not voted for either
Trump or Clinton because they're a bunch of liars. ... It just
really sort of went downhill from there and didn't make a lot of
sense to any of us," she said.
Passenger Randy Reiss tweeted throughout the event, at first
saying, "I'm shaking right now. I just left my @united flight
455 'cos the captain demonstrated that she was not mentally in a
She then mentioned she was going through a divorce,
commented on a interracial couple in the first-class section by
saying "yay unity," and told Reiss he did not have to fly if he
felt uncomfortable, Reiss said.
Reiss tweeted a photo of her back in the terminal speaking
with two uniformed officers.
"She was crying. She apologized. I wished her well & said I
hope she gets the help she needs," Reiss said.
United spokesman Charles Hobart said the airline would not
comment beyond Saturday's statement.
"We hold our employees to the highest standards and replaced
the pilot with a new one to operate the flight, which has since
departed Austin. We apologize to our customers for the
inconvenience," the statement said.
(Reporting by Daniel Trotta in New York; Editing by Frank
McGurty and Andrea Ricci)