When United Airlines flight UA90 took off from Newark Airport bound for Tel Aviv on January 20, 2022, all seemed normal. But then, a couple of economy class passengers decided to lift themselves up to where they truly belong, which happened to be business class.
Why not, they reasoned? The seats were empty, it’s a long overnight flight, they could get a good night’s kip in the fully-reclining seats, wake to a splendid breakfast and land at Tel Aviv relaxed and refreshed.
The cabin crew did not see it that way, pointing out that they had paid for economy seats and that’s where they belonged. The arguments went back and forth, but negotiations stalled and a standoff ensued.
Both sides refused to budge, and so the captain did a loop over Nova Scotia and landed the aircraft back at Newark, two hours after it took off.
Not only did the trespassers not get to keep their seats, they were fingered as the reason the passengers were spending the night in a hotel somewhere near Newark Airport instead of meeting friends and loved ones in Tel Aviv.
And when the aircraft landed it was met by police who marched the offenders off the aircraft and into custody. Cue the walk of shame, except the miscreants probably missed out on the shame gene.
The cheapest return economy seat aboard a UA flight from Newark to Tel Aviv in April costs $US775. The cheapest business-class seat on those same flights costs $US2735. What right-minded person thinks they can upgrade themselves from a cheap seat to a much better one that costs four times as much?
If you have a ticket to the Australian Open and find yourself sitting up in the gods, you can’t wander down to a corporate box and plonk yourself down just because there happens to be a few empty seats there.
Think you’ll get away with this? A sneaky poach in the dead of night, after the meal service when the business cabin is hushed and dark? Blanket out, swiftly over head and feign sleep? Nope! Because cabin crew are onto you. (Traveller)