Safety, decorum are a must on planes

Safety, decorum are a must on planes

Shocking! The video of a passenger on a United Airlines flight being dragged down the aisle.

A storm of outrage ensued at great cost to the airline in terms of public image and stock valuation. No matter it was a regional carrier, part of United's network, or that those involved were employees of airport security, not the airline. It was a United flight.

During my 30-year career as an airline pilot, I had my share of bizarre behavior by passengers overmedicated, intoxicated, under the influence of drugs, mentally unstable and just plain belligerent.

Some of that behavior was a threat to their own safety as well as to their fellow passengers. It sometimes resulted in the verbal and physical abuse of my cabin crew.

The point of this is that when a passenger reacts to a directive to exit the aircraft by kicking, flailing and screaming, I'm not going to take off with him on board; better to handle the problem of an erratic-behaving, noncompliant passenger on the ground than at 35,000 feet.

This in no way justifies the excessive force used by security personnel, but the passenger's actions had a lot to do with his injuries. When you're directed to exit the aircraft, do so.

After the fact, if you feel you've been mistreated, that's the time to file a complaint or lawsuit. You have rights as a passenger, but you also have responsibilities (read the "terms and conditions" that accompany your ticket purchase).