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April 17, 2008

Man kicked off plane for refusing to interrupt prayers for takeoff

A man was kicked off a plane in New York for refusing to return to his seat for takeoff. He was praying and didn't want to be disturbed.

According to friends who witnessed the incident, the man ignored the flight attendant's instructions because he feared theological blue balls:

When flight attendants urged the man, who was carrying a religious book, to take his seat, he ignored them, Brafman said. Two friends, who were seated, tried to tell the attendants that the man couldn't stop until his prayers were over in about 2 minutes, he said.

"He doesn't respond to them, but his friends explain that once you start praying you can't stop," said Brafman, who was seated three rows away. [AP]

It's usually difficult to tell from these kinds of "dramatic official reaction" stories whether the response was proportional, or whether the situation could been defused more adeptly.

Still, I appreciate United Airlines' stance: One guy's ritual should not take precedence over the timely departure of a flight; and, passengers must obey the instructions of the flight crew, as required law, whether they're praying or not.

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Comments

Isn't it possible to pray while sitting in an airplane seat? I mean, I don't do it, so I might be full of shit, but I have to wonder.

I was transiting the Suez Canal last year in a big ship and the Egyptian ship pilot, while piloting the ship and without saying a word to anyone, went to the corner of the wheel house, unrolled a rug, and got down on it to pray. He did pick a long, straight section of the canal to take his prayer break.

I see the Orthodox praying on the NYC subways all the time--especially on the M and D lines which run through Borough Park, an Orthodox neighborhood.

They mouth the words silently --and have no problem being on moving trains

This guy is a fool if he thinks that a plane is going to wait for someone to finish his prayers. All Orthodox are not the same, but I would think his group would have no problem if he just sat in his seat and started to pray there.

theological blue balls

Nice. Very nice.

A few years ago I sat next to a 50ish very devout Orthodox Jewish man on a NY to LA flight. A heckuva nice guy - an Apple computer salesman! I digress...He too prayed before we took off in his seat. If he could do it, this United passenger could do it. And United guy chose to pray by the bathroom instead? WTF is up with that?

This offers more proof that the ever-growing self-centered nature of our culture knows no religious or social bounds. We live in a time when considerateness is rare. The "If I paid for the ticket, I can do what I want" rationale is as tiring from drunks at sporting events as it is from the flying devoted. (OK, maybe not as tiring but tiring just the same). It seems to get worse all the time.

I'm no angel. I'm far from it. Yet I would never think of inconveniencing my fellow passengers by doing such a thing.

-AF
Andrew Sullivan Is A Fraud

Damn straight, I hope they arrested him. These "I will pray when I want and where I want" people are retarded.

Well, different Orthodox Jews have different interpretations of the Law, varying both individually, and between sects. I'm willing to believe that this was a genuine religious requirement for this guy. I'm still all for kicking him off, since people with religious requirements in a secular society are responsible for figuring out how to follow their requirements within the confines of secular law.

I propose that this fellow declined to follow the instructions as the untermensch could be ignored. After all, they are but service industry employees and he is Consumer, buyer of items!

This will engender another lawsuit from this whacko because his "rights" were violated. You can see this one coming from a mile away.

And United guy chose to pray by the bathroom instead? WTF is up with that?

Who says that he wasn't trying to be considerate of his other passengers by moving to the back of the plane to pray.

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