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Passengers Help Detain Unruly Man on Plane

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Passengers jumped in to help restrain an unruly traveler on a flight from Philadelphia to West Palm Beach before the plane landed, authorities said.

A flight attendant on Southwest flight 2161 asked passenger Christopher Egyed, 37, to quiet down because he was disturbing other passengers, said Palm Beach County Sheriff's spokesman Paul Miller.

The man later made threats and headed toward the pilot's cabin, and after a flight attendant tried to stop him in the aisle, a group of passengers helped detain him, Miller said.

Sheriff's deputies took Egyed into custody after the plane landed at Palm Beach International Airport Tuesday night. The FBI later arrested him on a federal charge of interfering with the operation of a flight crew.

No one was hurt during the incident.

Information on whether Egyed, of Philadelphia, had retained an attorney was unavailable late Wednesday.

You can't help but wonder how the reaction of the passengers would have been different on 9/10/2001.

Comments (30)

I know the writer was proba... (Below threshold)

I know the writer was probably joking, but I believe the passengers should be shielded somehow from even having to respond to a potential lawsuit against them.

In the aftermath of 9/11, I... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

In the aftermath of 9/11, I said that I felt sorry for anyone that ever again attempted to hijack a plane. The poor bastard will be torn to shreds.

A radiological disaster in ... (Below threshold)

A radiological disaster in West Palm Beach? An unruly passenger going to West Palm Beach?

I sense an unsubstantiated Internet rumor about to surface.

The biggest threat to civil... (Below threshold)

The biggest threat to civil liberties resulting from 9/11 isn't the Patriot Act or anything else done by GOP Congressmen, it's the lynch mob mentality that's made a folk hero of everyone who sides with a rude flight attendant...scratch that, a rude stewardess. And customer service hasn't been helped a whole lot either.

I wish that I could bitch s... (Below threshold)
Justin B:

I wish that I could bitch slap unruly customers in restaurants that treated the waitresses like crap. Airline hostesses are just overpaid flying waitresses, but when you fuck with them, you give every former football player with a sense of "national security" a chance to play hero and kick the living shit out of someone. The only thing that would make it better is if Alberto Gonzales wrote a memo authorizing us to waterboard the bastards in the bathroom toilet to see if they were part of a major plot to destroy the government.

Let me just say that it is not a good time to be an unruly passenger, especially if you look Arab. And it is not our fault. The 3000 dead people and the prick who tried to light up his Air Jordan's (the country not the basketball player) set the stage for an inflight ass kicking if you don't sit there, buckle your seat belt, and shut off the cell phone.

Well Tom, if I'm on a plane... (Below threshold)

Well Tom, if I'm on a plane and some damn fool is acting up, I'm not sure it's in my best interest to wait and see if he's got a bomb in his shoe before I side with the flight attendant.

Damn fools on airplanes need to go outside for a timeout, is what I think.

my my, Justin and Tom seem ... (Below threshold)

my my, Justin and Tom seem to have a chip on their shoulders.
My experiences on SWA over the past decade suggest that:

a) crew are generally happy, fun and helpful - geez they crack jokes, sing songs, recite their own poems even!
b) passengers are generally not expecting a lot of service and amenable to what they get
c) a careful look at the story is that passengers intervened when the unruly passenger headed towards the cockpit, not when he dissed the stew

Same story has happened pre 911- just not with same aura of post 911 endings. What used to be boring news fluff now has a potential sinister ring to it and makes headlines. Not worth going postal or conflagration blogging about.

If a Flight Marshall was on the plane, their intervention might have been reported as "passenger" action, or might not, but the result would have been the same.

Nah, I don't have a chip on... (Below threshold)

Nah, I don't have a chip on my shoulder, but I've seen flight attendants cop an attitude. "Security" has now become an excuse for poor customer service. I don't know if that's what happened in this particular case, but I seriously doubt that Greg Egyed was trying to hijack the plane. In any case, the idea that a flight attendant, take for example the notoriously silly Queen of Sky, should have absolute power in any situation of disagreement is just silly. This is what I'm saying - Flight attendants are human beings not God. They can be, get this, WRONG, and if they are wrong, beating up your fellow passenger in their defense is also wrong.

- Actually, given the exist... (Below threshold)

- Actually, given the existing atmosphere and emotions the dorkus is probably lucky they didn't show him a seat on the wing....This is definately not a good era for loud mouth trouble makers.....

Loudmouth troublemakers lik... (Below threshold)

Loudmouth troublemakers like, say, bloggers?

Tom:Just remember ... (Below threshold)


Just remember the next time *you* decide to piss of a flight attendnt... it's her/his job to get your sorry ass off the plane in under 90 seconds when something goes wrong.

Wow. I always thought libe... (Below threshold)

Wow. I always thought liberals were overreacting when they called us closed-minded.

Tom:Just a safety ... (Below threshold)


Just a safety tip.

Maybe you should try the train??

In the words of Cornholio..... (Below threshold)

In the words of Cornholio...are you threatening me?

Lighten up. The (over)reaction here is *exactly* what I'm talking about. I don't feel threatened by having my luggage searched, by a database to profile passengers or any of the other crap that the anti-Ashcroft crowd has been complaining about. I do find the idea of unrestrained vigilantism threatening and for saying so, I'm getting veiled threats about this not being a good time for loud mouth trouble makers and such. The other (theoretically conservative, liberty loving) commenters on this thread are sounding a lot like Dan Rather and friends. "Tom, it's not your place to disagree."

Tom:Hypothetically... (Below threshold)


Hypothetically, do you try to piss off a cop when he stops you. I'm betting not. I'm *suggesting* that there are alot of outwardly calm, inwardly nervous people on airplanes these days. Why make them any more nervous, just like why piss off the cop?

That's all.

Threaten you? Hell, I don't even know you.

Personally, I agree. If I ... (Below threshold)

Personally, I agree. If I had a problem, I could always discretely get the name of the person I have a problem with and take it up with customer service after the plane is on the ground. But that still doesn't make everyone who sticks up for a flight attendant regardless of the situation a national hero and it doesn't make flight attendants some kind of icons of moral rectitude.

I am still amazed at the way that the fear of terrorism has closed the minds of so many otherwise rational people, in a way that has to make the terorrists feel pretty satisfied. I don't mean the actual passengers on an airplane, that's a situation where some people are going to be on edge and things can get out of hand. I do mean my fellow conservatives in discussing issues ranging from Mexican immigration to whether airlines ought to be expected to have decent customer service. If someone is able to make a remote connection to terrorism, debate is closed.

I would have paid a few goo... (Below threshold)

I would have paid a few good dollars to be on that plane just to have the opportunity to take him down. ;)

Tom sounds like a man who h... (Below threshold)
Don Juan:

Tom sounds like a man who has been told "No" too many times and it started to affect his ego. If you know what I mean.

Hmm, another thread hijacke... (Below threshold)

Hmm, another thread hijacked by ego battles.

Back to topic: Loud boor charges cockpit and gets taken down by passengers. Would this have been different pre-9/11?

[Off topic rant: chatty blogger resists being taken down by fellow bloggers]

I say same thing happened in pre- 9/11 and just didn't receive big media attention. Now post 9/11 it does. Anyone have anything to say about the thread's supposed topic?

Ya know epador I have even ... (Below threshold)

Ya know epador I have even typed at the end of the post "Or for that fact, if this would have even made the news on 9/10/."

But I figured brevity was the soul of wit so I deleted it. But it is a good point.

Heroism? Not even. If I s... (Below threshold)

Heroism? Not even. If I see a guy arguing with the stew and charging up to the cockpit, yeah, I'd want to try to stop him. Not because I want to be a hero, but because I'd be scared shitless that he's going to try something stupid once he gets to the pilot.


Tom, Tom, dear sweet misgui... (Below threshold)
Red Five:

Tom, Tom, dear sweet misguided Tom. If you read the story, you'd have noticed that the flight attendant asked Egyed to quiet down because he was disturbing other passengers. The he got pissed off, threatened someone, and made for the cockpit. That sounds dangerous to me, and if I had been on that flight, I'd have participated in flattening him.

You've got air marshalls on random flights, who have guns I might add, you've got people who have taken down planes and killed thousands with box cutters, for crying out loud. If a member of the air crew asks you to settle down, do it or get a bullet for your trouble. You seem to be forgetting the fact that you're not alone in an airplane. You have potentially a couple hundred people at risk when you're raging, plus dozens on the ground upon which the plane may crash if you get out of hand. If you were alone, you could get pissed off all you want. Out in public, however, the rules change. Imagine if this guy were in a restaurant. He'd have gotten arrested in a hurry, because a cop was probably nearby. Not so in a plane, therefore a certain degree of "vigilantism" is necessary.

Get over it, Tom. You sound like G. Gordon Liddy.

Here's a good rule of thumb... (Below threshold)

Here's a good rule of thumb. You can be as big of an assh*le as you want as long as you stay in your seat, or maybe even if you head toward the REAR of the plane. You make a big scene and head toward the FRONT of the plane, then you can expect a beating. And if you make enough of a ruckus that the flight attendants start asking for help from the passengers, then expect a trip to the hospital after the plane lands. Use you head dumb*ass, you want to be an assh*le, then stay in your seat.

I'm with Steve L., after 9/... (Below threshold)

I'm with Steve L., after 9/11 I said we didn't need to worry about any more hijackings. Anybody tries to hijack a plane these days will have every man on the plane between about 18 and 45 trying to kill him. With the secure cockpit doors to slow the hijackers down, the passengers would stop the hijacking before they got in the cockpit. The hijackers would be very lucky if they were able to WALK off the plane after it landed.

The Israelis have a lot of experience with this. Whenever they have had an attempted hijacking, they immediately depressurize the cabin and put the plane into a steep dive. Some of passengers will have their eardrums burst, and the elderly may be seriously injured, but it makes it extremely difficult to carry out the hijacking. You can't use the oxygen masks when you're walking around the plane, and if you're not in your seat when the plane goes into that dive there's a good chance you will be thrown around the cabin.

From the Florida <a href="h... (Below threshold)

From the Florida Sun Sentinel:

"The lead flight attendant told him several times during the flight to "keep it down," as he was "loud, boisterous and used profane language."

About 45 minutes before the flight was supposed to land, Egyed again became unruly. After being told to calm down, he stood up and began shouting he was going to bring the plane down and appeared to be heading toward the cockpit door, the affidavit states.

The attendant blocked his way and Egyed pushed him, saying, "This will put me on the map." A struggle began and Egyed was tackled by the attendant.

Passengers helped hold Egyed down and attach plastic handcuffs around his wrists and ankles. He was taken into custody by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office after the plane landed about 9:45 p.m., said Paul Miller, a Sheriff's Office spokesman. "

I wouldn't call the passenger's actions "vigilantism" in this instance. Any reasonable person would have tried to stop this man carrying out his threats to bring the plane down.

Ya ya.You won't see me gett... (Below threshold)
Janesa Smith:

Ya ya.You won't see me gettin on no damn plan,I ain't that stupid cause u never know what's goin to happen.(hello) the damn flight attendants need to carry a damn gun and when somebody starts acting up,shoot there asses. Boom Boom!

G. Gordon Liddy, really? Th... (Below threshold)

G. Gordon Liddy, really? Thanks.

Here's a thought...suppose that somebody draws a stick figure drawing of himself stabbing the flight attendant? What's the proper reaction?

Can't find a link for it, b... (Below threshold)

Can't find a link for it, but a local carrier flying from SLC to Las Vegas had an incident where a passenger tried to break into the cockpit. Passengers restrained him until landing, but he died en route. Parents filed a lawsuit against the airline. Was supposed to go to court in October of 2001.
Worst. Timing. Ever.
Haven't heard anything of it since.

Epador: I think pre-9/11 t... (Below threshold)

Epador: I think pre-9/11 the passengers would have reacted, but they would have waited longer.

Just my opinion.

.... (Below threshold)







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