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.