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Pilot Removed From Plane After Rant About Politics, Personal Life

Some passengers expressed compassion after watching the pilot suffer from what appeared to be a nervous breakdown

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    A bizarre scene aboard a United Airlines flight bound for San Francisco International Airport on Saturday evening showcased a pilot dressed in street clothes ranting about politics and her personal life before descending into tears. Christie Smith reports.

    (Published Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017)

    A bizarre scene aboard a United Airlines flight bound for San Francisco International Airport on Saturday evening showcased a pilot dressed in street clothes ranting about politics and her personal life before breaking into tears, according to passengers.

    United Airlines Flight 455 was parked at Austin-Bergstom International Airport when the pilot took control of the intercom and began discussing her divorce and firing off about the recent election, according to Randy Reiss, a passenger on the airplane.

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    Reiss, who tweeted that he felt unsafe and uncomfortable during that point of the rant, proceeded to storm off of the plane. About half of the other passengers followed suit, passenger Sylvia Nguessan said.

    Nguessan added that the pilot was originally agitated when she began her speech before being overcome by tears.

    United Airlines confirmed that the pilot was removed the airplane when it issued a statement regarding the ordeal.

    "We hold our employees to the highest standards and replaced this pilot with a new one to operate the flight," the statement read in part. "We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience."

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    Reiss, while waiting in the airport for his flight to depart, eventually ran into the pilot. He said that she was crying and that she apologized for her actions. Reiss said he wished her well, and he later issued a statement backing up that hope.

    "Being a pilot is a tough and stressful job," the statement read. "This particular pilot did not seem emotionally equipped to do that job today. I hope she gets the help she probably needs."

    Nguessan echoed a similar sentiment.

    "It was sad and by the end (the pilot) was in tears," she said. "I talked to her and hugged her because she was having a nervous breakdown."

    Flight 455 eventually departed from Austin roughly two hours late, United Airlines said in a statement.