Argument Over Carry On Bag Leads To Arrest Of United Airlines Passenger In Seattle


A United Airlines passenger traveling with her 80 year old mother got into an argument with the crew over the way her carry on was stowed underneath the seat and escalated into the entire aircraft being cleared again.

After all passengers got off the plane and the lady threw an item inside the airlines offices she was arrested.

Both passengers ended up being denied boarding on their flight and the aircraft continued on to Houston with roughly an hour delay.

Local news station KOMO (access here) reported about the incident.

A dispute over a carry-on bag escalated Tuesday into an argument, removal of all the passengers from the plane and at least one arrest at Sea-Tac Airport.

Sea-Tac spokesman Brian DeRoy said a woman and her mother, who is in her 80s, were on a United Airlines flight at the airport.

The bag that was under the seat in front of them was also sticking out in the row. The crew wanted the bag in an overhead bin. The two passengers didn’t want to move it, DeRoy said.

There was a language barrier between the crew and passengers, but still, an argument began. Police were called and escorted all passengers off the plane for safety reasons.

The two passengers were taken to an office with airline officials. The woman’s daughter got mad, threw something and was arrested, DeRoy said.

I’m trying to imagine how or what exactly was sticking into the aisle as the seats usually have a frame underneath. Nevertheless I’m sure there was a reason why they were asked to put the bag up. Why someone would refuse that is beyond me especially because it’s much more comfortable that way.

United responded to a question from KOMO News with this statement:

“During the boarding process of United flight 1121, from Seattle to Houston, two customers did not follow crew instructions. For the safety and security of our customers and crew, law enforcement was requested by the flight crew. After speaking with these two customers, they voluntarily deplaned.”

Doesn’t sound very ‘voluntary’ to me to be honest. I guess United carefully tried to avoid another incident with negative press here and handled the incident as delicately as possible.


All the bad press United has gotten during the past few months aside, there are incidents where passenger behavior is indeed unreasonable and has to be dealt with properly such as in this case.

Why didn’t the lady just put her item up in the overhead bin? It’s not like they asked her to check it into the cargo hold.