Wow. Just got removed from @united flight because I asked flight attendant's name (because she was rude to other customer).— matt wallaert (@mattwallaert) December 13, 2013
Airlines - you either love them or really, really hate them. One unlucky Microsoft employee, who was headed to his grandfather's funeral, just got booted off a flight operated by United - and you can bet he won't have much love for them after that.
What was the offending reasoning for removing Matt Wallaert from his flight? Apparently, he asked a flight attendant for her name because she was being rude to another customer. Now, before we continue, we must note that we only have one side of the story, but the trend of being tossed off flights by overzealous flight attendants is well documented.
Fortunately for Wallaert, according to his Twitter feed, he was able to board an Alaska Airlines flight to Oakland where he will rent a car and then drive to SFO where he will, presumably, catch his connecting flight to his grandfather’s funeral.
For those who have never witnessed or heard about a flight attendant removing someone from a plane before takeoff, it goes like this. If a flight attendant, for lack of a better definition, feels 'threatened' or scared by a passenger, they can request to have them removed without any further justification. This is likely what happened here with the United flight attendant using this excuse to have Wallaert removed from the plane.
Now we do not know Mr. Wallaert personally but he has worked for Microsoft for over a year, according to his LinkedIn profile, and he started the Bing for Schools program that “encourages digital literacy by helping put hardware in the hands of students, creating teaching guides that help them use it productively, and creating a safe/ad-free/private environment to search in.” His prior work doesn't exactly paint the picture of a super-evil terrorist looking to take down a plane, does it?
We would find it hard to believe that Wallaert was really a threat on the United flight and was likely unjustly removed from the plane. Heck, he was headed to his grandfather’s funeral and being removed from the flight is likely the last thing he needed.
We have reached out to United for comment and will update this post when we receive a response from the company.