Praying Passenger Gets Denver to DC Plane Military Escort

A passenger praying in the aisles will apparently get your plane priority landing privileges.

A passenger praying in the aisles will apparently get your plane priority landing privileges.

9News (“Praying passenger forces Denver-to-D.C. flight to make emergency landing“):

A United Airlines flight from Denver to Washington D.C. made an emergency landing at Dulles Washington International Airport Thursday after officials say a male passenger got up in the middle of the aisle and began to pray.

Flight 662 landed safely at Dulles 13 minutes earlier than its scheduled time.

The Boeing 757 aircraft got a military escort to Dulles, after the call came out just before 9:00 p.m. All passengers on board the plane were allowed to de plane except for the disorderly person.

Police and EMS escorted the disorderly man off the plane. He was handcuffed and placed in the back of a police cruiser. Tweets on this topic speculated that the man experienced some kind of “emotional or mental problem.”

United spokeswoman Megan McCarthy told the Associated Press the crew declared an emergency because a passenger wasn’t following flight attendant instructions for landing.

Oddly, Fox News headlines this story “Praying passenger diverts flight from Denver to DC.” I say “oddly” because the plane seems to have landed precisely where it was supposed to land.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. DC Loser says:

    Years ago I flew JFK to Brussels, and it was no secret that many Orthodox Jewish diamond dealers (they control the diamond retail business in NYC and in Antwerp) fly that route to get their diamond allotments from DeBeers in Antwerp. It was not unusual to see those passengers get up after the plane takes off and begin to pray against the bulkhead between the compartments like they do at the wall in Jerusalem. I guess they don’t do that anymore these days.

  2. bookdragon says:

    @DC Loser: I wonder if some ignoramus was alarmed that a guy was praying in a language they assumed was Arabic. Makes it pretty funny if it turns out that he was praying in Hebrew.

  3. gVOR08 says:

    @DC Loser: The story says the guy wasn’t following the flight attendant’s pre-landing instructions. Praying may not have been the issue, unless he was disruptive with it.

  4. DariusTwin209876 says:

    Yeah, I heard about this story. Now, I’m clear in saying that I’m not defending the guy that went in the aisle because I don’t even know him. I’m a dedicated Christian and know that the Bible says not to pray to get attention of those around you but to be humble and pray without trying to get attention and with sincerity even by your lonesome.

    Concordant Literal

    Matthew 6:5-6

    5 “And whenever you may be praying, you shall not be as the hypocrites, for they are fond of standing in the synagogues and at the corners of the squares to be praying, so that they may appear to men. Verily, I am saying to you, They are collecting their wages!
    6 “Now you, whenever you may be praying, enter into your storeroom, and, locking your door, pray to your Father Who is in hiding, and your Father, Who is observing in hiding, will be paying you.

    There are a few sites around the net about this news story. I see countless negative responses to the man that was praying in the aisle and the funny thing is that none of the people behind the comments know half of what went on during that flight. One of the passengers on the flight tweeted that the man was praying over and over that he had to go to the bathroom. Sounds like a load of crap. Anyways, he was abstructing the aisle going by the info imho. Was he a muslim or another religion and was he just seeking attention? Who knows, who cares? Why did they all come to tackle him? Isn’t one person enough and were they really that weak? Makes you wonder lots. Seems like they were just a bunch of phonies trying to play hero, wanting to be a hero. However, I do know that by the flight members or ignorant commenters guessing if somebody is a terrorist or not does not give one an advantage in any way, shape or form. These are real selfish, ignorant, attention hogs. They are just dhs lapdogs who think that everybody is a terrorist. Watch, if they start busting their doors down, calling them a terrorist, their attitudes would change real quick. I believe that’s what’s called tragic irony.