United Airlines replaced a pilot before takeoff after she boarded in civilian clothes and told passengers over the intercom that both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were liars and that she was getting a divorce, witnesses said.
The airline on Sunday declined to identify the pilot or comment beyond a previous statement apologizing to customers, many of whom left the plane out of concern for their safety.
An airline spokesman confirmed that the pilot wasn’t in uniform when boarding the plane on Friday. The spokesman added that another pilot was brought in. The flight was delayed for nearly two hours.
The United Airlines spokesman also confirmed the pilot was the woman shown in videos posted on social media talking to passengers over the intercom. Some people tweeted they were passengers on the flight and that the woman seemed unstable, talking about a divorce, the election and other issues.
Passenger Randy Reiss said she seemed friendly at first, “but things took an awkward turn when she pointed out an interracial couple sitting in first class.”
“It quickly turned from playful to scary,” Reiss told BuzzFeed News.
“Look, I don’t care if you voted for Trump or Clinton, they’re both a******,” she said. She also said she would let her co-pilot fly the plane because he is a man, and she told passengers they could disembark the plane if they didn’t feel safe. “So I’ll stop, and we’ll fly the plane. Don’t worry. I’m going to let my co-pilot fly it. He’s a man,” she laughed. “Okay, if you don’t feel safe, then get off the airplane. But otherwise, we can go.”
Reiss left the plane after her outburst and wrote on Twitter that half the passengers on the plane followed suit.
United Airlines spokesman Charlie Hobart said the pilot was removed from the flight and a new crew took her place.
“We removed her from the flight, (and) we’re going to discuss this matter with her,” Hobart said, according to the Austin-American Statesman. “We were looking out for our customers to get them to where they needed to be.”