February 16th, 2010
01:42 PM ET
13 years ago

Romney threatened with violence on flight

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/16/art.romneyol.gi.jpg caption="Romney took in the opening weekend at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver."]

(CNN) - Even former presidential candidates are subject to the occasional annoyances of air travel.

A passenger seated in front of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's wife became "physically violent" when the former Republican presidential candidate asked the passenger to move his seat in a more upright position.

The incident occurred Monday when the Romneys were headed from Vancouver, Canada to Los Angeles on an Air Canada flight, according to spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom.

In a statement to CNN, Fehrnstrom said "Romney did not retaliate, but instead allowed the airline crew to respond to the incident."

Following the uproar, the plane returned to the gate where the passenger was removed by airport police. Romney was not injured.

Filed under: Mitt Romney
soundoff (104 Responses)
  1. Sgt. USMC

    You know, there's a reason why the seats recline and it's not to inconvenience you rom. People pay for their seats and should not be told what they can and can't do by a loud mouth, spoiled politician. Get over yourself. I don't like to see anyone get violent but I don't like to see a politician trying to throw his weight around. I can hardly believe that this guy got violent over a simple request to move his seat. Something else happened.

    February 16, 2010 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Serves him right really! Why would Herman Munster feel that he was entitled to tell another paying passenger what to do with HIS SEAT?! The seats recline for a reason: so that you may recline in them and be more comfortable. If Mittens wanted more room for his wife he should've coughed up the dough for first class!

    February 16, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  3. El Gordo

    Perhaps Romney could suggest to airlines that the amount of leg room is insufficient for adult passengers. If they spread the seats out a little bit, customers would be happier. However, an airline executive recently commented: "We have learned that good customer service does not always result in higher profits."

    February 16, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  4. andrewstl

    i bet there is more to the story. i bet mitt the man took a bad attitude and pushed the envelope. he looks like the kind of fake phony guy that would try to throw his weight around.

    i wish he got cracked in the jaw that turd!!1

    February 16, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  5. Malcolm

    Comment? What really happened?

    February 16, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  6. Both sides

    I have been plowed a few times by someone lowering their seat in front of me and if they are pretty havy it can lean even more.

    At the same time, the seats are made to recline to a certain angle and as a passenger you have a right to use that. And that means I do not have to cater to someones oversized laptop behind me, etc.

    In addition, I am tired of people shoving their underseat stuff forward with their feet until it pops out on my side.

    So I guess I have been on both sides of the problem.

    February 16, 2010 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  7. Sniffit

    LOLZ. He probably needed more room for his "do". I wonder if he has to pay a baggage check for it...

    Personally, I don't think I'd need an excuse to pimpslap the guy.

    February 16, 2010 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  8. Ace

    i'm sure it was more to the story.

    February 16, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  9. WorkingClass

    Not a good week for uncomfortable airplane seats.

    February 16, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  10. CheneyIsDarthVader

    I have absolutely no inkling to ever vote for Mitt Romney (nor any other current Republican), but he – like everyone – is entitled to civil treatment and common courtesy. Civility is a casualty of modern times. Not good.

    February 16, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  11. Ender

    Maybe it was one of the hundreds of thousands of people Romny laid off who took a swing at him.

    I mean, when you live your life taking away the dreams and hard work of others, you really wont end up a "loved" individual.

    And before you whine at me republicans ....... look into what Romney did to make his fortune. He is no "captian of industry" as many of you wish to claim. He made his money being a vulture.

    Look into it. He made millions taking advantage of failing companies and layingoff hard working Americans.

    Look it up Republicans. Your "heros" are the people who are killing this nation.

    February 16, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  12. Shannon

    Let's not tell the world about how the plane was taking off and the man refused to raise his seat to an upright position after it had been announced to do so. Let's not put in the headlines that Mr Romney was physically attacked. Lame stream media.

    February 16, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  13. Tanner

    Not much of a news story, but in the days of twitter, why not?

    The guy was probably trying to annoy Mitt and family to get a response out of him. Glad the Romney's saw through his ploy for drama.

    February 16, 2010 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  14. Michael-SC

    why should the passenger move the seat in a more upright position?
    Whenever I fly, the passengers infront of me, do not respond to my request. They lay down their seat as far as they can.

    Mr. Romney, it is a commercial airline, not your private jet.
    Thats what every passenger in an airline has to face.

    Ok, the physical wasn't ok. But what did Romney all say?
    He often sounds like he owns the world and knows it all.

    February 16, 2010 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  15. Gale

    Gee, I don't know why they removed the passenger. After all, isn't it people's rights to weigh 300 lbs. and put their seats in any position? Just ask the ACLU. They will take up your rights in court, no matter how much other people are inconvenienced or their rights are imposed upon.

    February 16, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  16. geecee

    Road rage, now plane rage. What's up with people? The guy should have had his seat upright ready for take-off. Eventually, though, the flight attendant would have told him and I doubt he would have hauled off at her/him. Perhaps Mitt should have waited before confronting some idiotic, volatile, rage-filled moron. Good thing the guy didn't connect. I'd hate to see that handsome face with a bruise or two. Good of Romney to speak up, but you have to be very careful these days. A lot of nuts out there!

    February 16, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  17. Kate

    Anyone is free to recline on an airplane. I would never ask anyone to put their seat up. Just because Romney ask for it, it should have been done!!????!!
    I guess that is what a conservative is....JUST ABOUT ME!!

    February 16, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  18. SCOTO

    I've had the same request made of me on a flight and refused to comply...... albeit politely. You can put your chair at any angle you like
    when flying except when instructed otherwise by flight crew. That comes with the price of the ticket. Romney had no right to ask this and should have known better. Incidentally was he flying coach?

    February 16, 2010 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  19. Jim

    Reclining seats are made to recline at the passenger's discetion except during takeoff and landing regardless of what the person behind the reclining seat likes.

    February 16, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  20. Steve in Ct

    What a bunch of crap. I don't see an issue with someone nicely asking for a little more room. From that point it's up to the person if he/she complies. The seat in front of that person may also be reclined. It's like Smith on the Southwest flight. He imposes on other passangers without any regard to the comfort of others because he's special, a VIP. Just because he can squeeze the armrests down doesn't mean he doesn't encroach in the other passangers limited space. Southwest should stand up for their customer base and stop Pandering to him.I personally don't care who you are. I paid the same price for my seat as any VIP. If on the other hand the passanger violently erupted as a result of a polite request that's another issue. We weren't there and details are sparse at best in the atricle. I would hope the Romneys didn't use their fame to get special treatment in having the crew mwmber side with them but it sure sounds like they did. I'll remember that in 2012. He's no better than any voter.

    February 16, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  21. Publico

    I thought this guy's claim to fame was that he was a big earner. Why is he flying commercial when he should have his own plane?

    February 16, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  22. obamalover

    Wow no private jet for Mitt. Sounds like he was in coach to boot.

    February 16, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  23. bob

    I believe it was prior to take off and the request to put all seats in the upright position before take off.
    If the punk doesn't want to follow flight rules take him off the plane and beat the crap out of him. I sick of these kind of people. It's going to change.

    February 16, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  24. Starcruiser

    Who does Romney think he is asking someone to move their set up...It goes without saying, everyone in the plane would rather those sitting in front of them not to move their seat back. But most are courteous enough not to make an issue of it..Otherwise, there'd be fights breaking out on every flight.

    The airline should of removed him too as he was the instigator.

    February 16, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  25. GI Joe

    I was afraid someone had threatened to mess up his girly-man coif.

    February 16, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
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