Angry passengers on board a jet in full-fledged mutiny.
Airline passengers across America have been caught in chaotic delays caused by that massive blizzard. But the mutiny by 100 passengers at New Orleans airport on board a flight to Los Angeles had nothing to do with a weather. It happened because some passengers were afraid the pilots were drunk.
One of the passengers, John Moore, shot video on his flip camera as the drama unfolded.
The passengers were already furious because they had been waiting on board for nearly three hours for the pilots to show up. The pilots said they were stuck in traffic gridlock caused by the giant parade celebrating the New Orleans Saints Super Bowl victory.
A false rumor spread that the pilots had been drinking at the parade. When the pilots finally arrived, things escalated.
Passenger Mark Alexander said, "Some of the passengers had asked them to take a sobriety test, a breathalyzer test, and they refused. And the pilot used profanity and said, "Are you (expletive deleted) serious? I'm not going to do that."
One passenger called 911. The police boarded the flight and spoke to the pilots. Some passengers demanded to be allowed off:
Passenger Amanda Mince said, "You have half the the plane accusing them of being drunk and then you do start to worry about your life."
All at once, the flight was canceled. The pilots said, "We're done. The flight is canceled." The cabin crew made the announcement, "Ladies and gentlemen, this flight has been canceled. You will gather your belongings and exit the aircraft."
On the video that Moore was recording, he said, "The pilots have refused to fly. They won't fly because we have basically asked to ensure our safety which they're refusing to do."
A spokesman for United Airlines insisted the pilots were not drunk, saying, "It's not true. By the time the pilots arrived the flight crew was past their duty time, which means they cannot fly because they have been on the clock too long."
As the mutinous passengers were disembarking, they expressed their fury.
"It's super unprofessional," exclaimed one passenger.