On Saturday, a United Airlines pilot launched into a tirade about Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and her recent divorce, deeply upsetting her travelers. The flight was bound for San Francisco. The pilot boarded her flight at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport late, donned in a ball cap and casual attire. Right off the bat, she got into an argument with crew members at the front of the plane.

At first, some passengers mistook her for another flier.

“I thought she was a first-class passenger, complaining,” Chris Moore, a passenger aboard the flight, said. “Then she grabs the mic.”

The pilot then announced to the flight, “Sorry, I”m late. I’m going through a divorce.”

Randy Reiss, another passenger on board the flight, said he then thought, “uh oh.”

The pilot’s speech only got more perturbing from there. She then veered into a string of non-sequiturs, and the mood in the cabin took a quick nosedive into the uncomfortable.

She pointed to two passengers at the front of the plane, noting their race — one black, one white —for reasons unclear to anyone.

At this point, Reiss began to tweet.

The pilot then delved into politics, while attempting to be bipartisan.

“She’s like ‘I don’t care if you voted for Trump or Clinton. They’re both [expletive],” Reiss wrote.

But what really started to bother passengers was when she talked about the plane’s imminent takeoff. Reiss admitted he started shaking, and another passenger started videotaping the drama.

“So I’ll stop, and we’ll fly the airplane,” the pilot rambled in the video, which has since been removed from YouTube. “Don’t worry. I’m going to let my co-pilot fly it. He’s a man.”

At this point, Reiss decided to evacuate the flight, deeming the pilot not mentally fit to fly. He collected his bag and asked the flight crew to let him off.

Noticing this, the pilot said cheerfully, “Okay, if you don’t feel safe, get off the airplane, but otherwise we can go.”

“Disarm the doors,” a flight attendant said.

“She’s not mentally fit to fly,” Reiss told an attendant while waiting for the door to open.

The attendant only replied, “She’s been cleared to fly.”

Moore then said he watched from his seat as an off-duty pilot tried to calm the pilot down, but to no avail.

She returned to the microphone and “did more talking,” Moore described. “I think she went into the cockpit.”

Moore decided to follow Reese to the exit, and so did at least 50 other passengers.

One flier yelled “stop!” at the pilot, and others were crying as they streamed back toward the terminal. Even a gate agent was crying.

The agent told Moore that when she had tried to stop the pilot from boarding, she had quickly realized that “the lady was unstable.”

“I’m wondering, if we didn’t do something, if the plane was going to take off,” Moore pondered.

United Airlines did not respond when asked that question, and did not disclose the pilot’s name, what became of her, or what policies were in place that had cleared her to fly.

A spokesman for the company released in a statement that read:

“We hold our employees to the highest standards and have replaced this pilot with a new one to operate the flight, which has since departed Austin. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience.”

A new pilot did indeed take the jet to San Francisco, about 90 minutes behind schedule.

Before Reiss reboarded, he watched the police walk the pilot back through the airport. The pilot apologized and hugged him before they parted, he said.

Read more about:

Leave a comment