A United Airlines flight from Houston to Amsterdam was forced to divert to Chicago O’Hare on Sunday evening after a passenger allegedly became upset and increasingly unruly because they didn’t get their first choice of meal.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the airline confirmed that flight UA20 was forced to make an unscheduled stop in Chicago due to a passenger disturbance, although a spokesperson was unable to provide further details.
According to aviation insider xJonNYC on Twitter, the unruly passenger was sitting in United’s Polaris Business Class cabin and became upset when he was declined his first choice of meal.
A fellow passenger quoted by xJonNYC also claimed that the unruly passenger may have been intoxicated.
It appears that a decision to divert the aircraft was made early and before the Boeing 777-200 was over the Atlantic Ocean, but that meant the pilots were forced to go into a holding pattern above Lake Michigan in order to dump fuel.
The plane landed safely after several laps, and the passenger was reportedly removed by law enforcement. After being refuelled, the flight was then able to continue onto Amsterdam.
The airline told us: “United flight 20 from George Bush Intercontinental Airport to Amsterdam diverted to O’Hare International Airport and landed safely following a passenger disturbance.”
Law enforcement met the aircraft at the gate and escorted the passenger off the plane. The aircraft then continued to Amsterdam.”
The Chicago Police Department was not immediately able to provide any details about the incident.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.