Self-Upgrading Korean Air Passenger Forcibly Removed by Security (Video)

Aug 2, 2018

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A self-upgrading Korean Air passenger was forcibly removed from the business-class cabin of a San Francisco-bound flight after refusing to move back to her assigned economy seat.

On July 27, an American woman boarded Korean Air Flight 25 from Seoul (ICN) to San Francisco (SFO), ticketed as an economy-class passenger. Once on board the aircraft, a Boeing 777-300ER (registration HL7202), the unidentified woman reportedly self-upgraded and took a seat in the last row of the business-class cabin. When she was asked by Korean crew to move to her assigned seat, the woman reportedly refused and continued her loud, unruly behavior.

After discussion between cabin crew and pilots, security was brought in to remove the woman, who can be heard in video screaming that the crew had stolen her passport, among other things. At the end of the nearly three-minute video, posted on YouTube by Korea JoongAng Daily, the woman was successfully restrained in a wheelchair — and offered a blanket from the Korean crew. You can watch the video below:

According to SF Gate, Korean said that the passenger in question was a US citizen, assigned to seat 40D in economy but self-assigned to seat 14B in business class. Interestingly, Korean Air said that when the passenger checked in for the flight in Seoul, she was accompanied by a staff member from the US Embassy in Korea. Crew contacted the National Intelligence Service as well as Airport Police, and the airline said that it expects to receive more information when the investigation is complete.

TPG reached out to Korean Air for comment but did not hear back by time of publication.

This isn’t the first time a passenger has met backlash from attempting to self-upgrade to a premium cabin. In January, TPG Editor-at-Large Zach Honig detailed how United handled a self-upgrading couple on his Polaris flight to Tel Aviv. Also in January, American Airlines detailed its plans to crack down on self-upgraders to better seats.

Featured image of Korean’s business-class cabin on its 747 by Zach Honig.

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