Update: United Airlines Flight Diverts Over Polaris® Meal Choice

by Anthony Losanno
United plane

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Last night, I wrote about United flight UA20 having to divert to Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) when a passenger became unruly. The flight was scheduled to go from Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS), but the crew decided they needed to get this passenger off the plane.

After dumping fuel, the flight safely landed in Chicago, refueled, and was on its way.

UA20 Update

The plane landed around 3.5 hours late.

UA Polaris Meal

What Caused the Passenger to Become Unruly?

Aviation analyst, @JonNYC usually has the scoop on incidents before anyone else. He was one of the first to report on the diversion and followed up with some additional details.

It appears that “the passenger in question was livid over the fact his 1st choice of meal was not available.”

This is a crazy reason to act out to the point where a crew makes the decision to divert. No meal is worth that and with what United often serves, this is even more the case. The food has recently improved, but it’s still by no means something to get excited about. Meal orders are prioritized with Premier 1K® and Global Services members getting their selections first. Then the crew tries to accommodate other choices based on availability.

I have not yet seen an official statement from United on this incident, but it sounds like a Business Class meal caused some air rage here.

The tweet above states that another passenger on the flight reported that the passenger in question seemed “to be intoxicated as well, but meal choice seems to have been an enragement point.”

Anthony’s Take: We still need the rest of the details here, but it seems like a mix of alcohol, entitlement, and catering possibly caused this diversion and delay.

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