A man who took a photo of his airline seat and then joked to a flight attendant that he was not a “terrorist” found himself promptly kicked off the plane.
Travel blogger Matthew Klint told NBC News he was on a United Airlines flight from Newark to Istanbul on Valentine’s Day and had been upgraded to business class.
Eager to blog about the experience, he photographed the entertainment system at his seat.
“A flight attendant came running over and told me that I could not take any pictures of the cabin,” the 26-year-old says.
Klint says he immediately put his phone away and then, feeling the need to explain himself, called the flight attendant back, saying: “I want you to understand why I was taking pictures. I hope you didn’t think I was a terrorist.”
He explained that he’s a regular blogger and offered her his business card.
Next thing he knew, an airline representative had been called on board to inform Klint the captain was uneasy having him on board and he would need to leave the aircraft.
He spoke to the captain before disembarking in the hopes of changing his mind, but was unsuccessful.
“There were whispers throughout the business class and Economy Plus cabins as I made the walk of shame down the aisle,” Klint wrote on his blog.
The incident meant he had to take a different route to Istanbul and missed his connecting flight.
United Airlines spokesman Rahsaan Johnson told NBC News the airline has contacted Klint to hear his side of the story.
He says restrictions on photography are in place for security reasons.
Klint says United Airlines has not apologised but assured him an “extensive internal investigation” was underway.
The blogger argues the flight attendant falsely claimed he ignored her request to stop taking photographs, and NBC News says other passengers back-up his version of events.
He does admit it wasn’t the smartest move to use the term “terrorist”.
Klint said on upgrd.com that a PR representative from United had reached out in a 25-minute telephone conversation yesterday, and that United was taking the issue seriously and had launched an internal investigation.
In a similar incident last month, a travel writer was kicked off a plane for asking a mother to swap seats with her son who had been kicking him.