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How To Deal With An "Unruly Passenger" On A Cross-Country Flight

A movie producer on a flight from New York to L.A. shares his conversation with a man who was so unstable that the plane had to land early in Denver. It’s unsettling and enlightening.

This man was caught on video being escorted off a flight in Denver.

It was a fairly standard news item — man escorted off airplane for unruly behavior. But movie producer Cassian Elwes (Blue Valentine, Margin Call) offered another point of view when he logged on to Twitter to relay the experience.

Here’s how the flight diversion unfolded, from Elwes’ perspective.


I want to write this all down before I forget it even though its 3.45am. I just got home. Tonight I took the 9pm jet blue from ny to lax— cassian elwes


When I got on the plane I went to my seat 20f a window seat I had specifically booked. There was someone sitting already in my seat— cassian elwes


A youngish looking guy maybe late 20’s( turned out he was 32) quite burly white crew cut lots of tatoos. Gang looking maybe.— cassian elwes

Hey that's my seat man I said. A quick drawling fuck you its mine now was the response I sat down next to him mumbling 'charming'.

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

Hey that’s my seat man I said. A quick drawling fuck you its mine now was the response I sat down next to him mumbling ‘charming’.— cassian elwes

He pulled his hoodie over his face & leant against the window like he was going to sleep.2 minutes later along comes a young japanese couple

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

He pulled his hoodie over his face & leant against the window like he was going to sleep.2 minutes later along comes a young japanese couple— cassian elwes

He has the aisle seat next to me and his wife the one directly behind him. He asks me if they can sit together and I happily oblige.

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

He has the aisle seat next to me and his wife the one directly behind him. He asks me if they can sit together and I happily oblige.— cassian elwes

We take off About 1 hour into the flight the japanese lady who was sitting next to hoodie gets up and trades with her husband.

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

We take off About 1 hour into the flight the japanese lady who was sitting next to hoodie gets up and trades with her husband.— cassian elwes

Hoodie wants to get up. he walks to the back & stands in the galley for 10 mins just staring at the metal wall. The stewardesses ignore him

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

Hoodie wants to get up. he walks to the back & stands in the galley for 10 mins just staring at the metal wall. The stewardesses ignore him— cassian elwes

Then he comes back and sits down. The japanese couple are squeezing away from him. He starts ripping up a magazine and licking the paper

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

Then he comes back and sits down. The japanese couple are squeezing away from him. He starts ripping up a magazine and licking the paper— cassian elwes

Then he starts sticking the magazine pieces to the mini tv in front of him. The wife calls the stewardess who comes and tells him to stop

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

Then he starts sticking the magazine pieces to the mini tv in front of him. The wife calls the stewardess who comes and tells him to stop— cassian elwes

Then he wants to get up again. This time he walks to the front. I feel uneasy and I go back & tell one of the ladies that he's acting weird

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

Then he wants to get up again. This time he walks to the front. I feel uneasy and I go back & tell one of the ladies that he’s acting weird— cassian elwes

And I'm really not sure that its a good idea that he's hanging around the front where all the buttons are for the doors.

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

And I’m really not sure that its a good idea that he’s hanging around the front where all the buttons are for the doors.— cassian elwes

In the front I see some sort of exchange with him and a lady who's just come out of the loo. He starts back down the aisle and stops halfway

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

In the front I see some sort of exchange with him and a lady who’s just come out of the loo. He starts back down the aisle and stops halfway— cassian elwes

He just stands in the aisle staring at some guy not saying anything for 5 minutes like he wants to fight someone. The japanese look worried

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

He just stands in the aisle staring at some guy not saying anything for 5 minutes like he wants to fight someone. The japanese look worried— cassian elwes

I go back & say to the stewardess isn't there an air marshal who can come and sit next to hoodie. She says no they can't identify themselves

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

I go back & say to the stewardess isn’t there an air marshal who can come and sit next to hoodie. She says no they can’t identify themselves— cassian elwes

The air marshal's only there to stare at the cockpit door & protect it. She calls the captain who says there's another off duty one on board

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

The air marshal’s only there to stare at the cockpit door & protect it. She calls the captain who says there’s another off duty one on board— cassian elwes

The japanese couple get up and go stand in the back.The plane is totally full & there is nowhere else for them to sit.The off duty guy comes

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

The japanese couple get up and go stand in the back.The plane is totally full & there is nowhere else for them to sit.The off duty guy comes— cassian elwes

He sits down next to hoodie and they exchange a few words. I'm right behind and now hoodie starts shouting at the guy fuck you many times

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

He sits down next to hoodie and they exchange a few words. I’m right behind and now hoodie starts shouting at the guy fuck you many times— cassian elwes

Hoodie tries to get up but air marshal blocks him. More fuck yous. Hoodie throws his vodka at him but it lands on the couple in front of him

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

Hoodie tries to get up but air marshal blocks him. More fuck yous. Hoodie throws his vodka at him but it lands on the couple in front of him— cassian elwes

The stewardesses come up and try to talk to hoodie to no avail. Then they look around & ask if anyone wants to volunteer to sit next to him

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

The stewardesses come up and try to talk to hoodie to no avail. Then they look around & ask if anyone wants to volunteer to sit next to him— cassian elwes

As the japanese couple refuse to come back and the air marshal sits away from from hoodie on the aisle saying nasty things to each other

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

As the japanese couple refuse to come back and the air marshal sits away from from hoodie on the aisle saying nasty things to each other— cassian elwes

I'm feeling quite guilty for switching with the japanese couple in the first place and volunteer to sit next to him.

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

I’m feeling quite guilty for switching with the japanese couple in the first place and volunteer to sit next to him.— cassian elwes

I stand up and look over. Let's talk let's just talk I say. Hoodie who's called marco says I know he's a cop to the air marshal

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

I stand up and look over. Let’s talk let’s just talk I say. Hoodie who’s called marco says I know he’s a cop to the air marshal— cassian elwes

And then he looks at me and growls you must be a cop too. How many american cops do you know that have english accents I say

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

And then he looks at me and growls you must be a cop too. How many american cops do you know that have english accents I say— cassian elwes

You're fucking security he says again to me. No I'm not. I'm going to sit down and were going to talk about films. Do you like films. Yes

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

You’re fucking security he says again to me. No I’m not. I’m going to sit down and were going to talk about films. Do you like films. Yes— cassian elwes

I sit. The smell of alcohol is incredible. Do like movies. fuck you. Do you go to films. Fuck you. Do you write at all. Fuck you.Yes he says

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

I sit. The smell of alcohol is incredible. Do like movies. fuck you. Do you go to films. Fuck you. Do you write at all. Fuck you.Yes he says— cassian elwes

Where did you grow up. I'm a fucking marine man don't fuck with me he says. I will kill you man. Come on I say what have you written ?

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

Where did you grow up. I’m a fucking marine man don’t fuck with me he says. I will kill you man. Come on I say what have you written ?— cassian elwes

I wrote a short story yesterday. Really marco what was it about.A kamikase pilot.he sees his kids & his wife in flashback just as he crashes

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

I wrote a short story yesterday. Really marco what was it about.A kamikase pilot.he sees his kids & his wife in flashback just as he crashes— cassian elwes

ThIs is not a particularly reassuring conversation 20 rows from the cockpit. Where did u grow up. Lower east side man ny. Shooting heroin

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

ThIs is not a particularly reassuring conversation 20 rows from the cockpit. Where did u grow up. Lower east side man ny. Shooting heroin— cassian elwes

My father killed his father who was a bad man and my father's dead. I live in queens now. I went to the marines to get off drugs.

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

My father killed his father who was a bad man and my father’s dead. I live in queens now. I went to the marines to get off drugs.— cassian elwes

He pulls out a canister from his pocket filled with little green pills. He swigs from it. The plane jolts and the pills fly everywhere.

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

He pulls out a canister from his pocket filled with little green pills. He swigs from it. The plane jolts and the pills fly everywhere.— cassian elwes

Did u ever write about the marines. Fuck you man I don't want to talk about it. I've seen shot no man should ever see. I can't write it

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

Did u ever write about the marines. Fuck you man I don’t want to talk about it. I’ve seen shot no man should ever see. I can’t write it— cassian elwes

I tell him I'm a movie producer. He tells me he's going to la to work on a commercial doing construction. I gotta work man but I hate la

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

I tell him I’m a movie producer. He tells me he’s going to la to work on a commercial doing construction. I gotta work man but I hate la— cassian elwes

I turn 2 the air marshal. I think I can keep him talking for the next 2 hrs until we get to la I say .Too late he says we're going to denver

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

I turn 2 the air marshal. I think I can keep him talking for the next 2 hrs until we get to la I say .Too late he says we’re going to denver— cassian elwes

Listen man I want u to read my stuff. Its a movie. Cool I say. Give me your email which he does. I want to give you something man he says

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

Listen man I want u to read my stuff. Its a movie. Cool I say. Give me your email which he does. I want to give you something man he says— cassian elwes

He pulls out this patch that says 'stay' on it http://t.co/dHhAEWJ9

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

He pulls out this patch that says ‘stay’ on it http://t.co/dHhAEWJ9— cassian elwes

the captain comes on and says there's a small problem on board and we are diverting to denver and will be landing in 20 minutes

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

the captain comes on and says there’s a small problem on board and we are diverting to denver and will be landing in 20 minutes— cassian elwes

Marco is oblivious to this,wants to tell me about all his tatoos. He shows me the one of his arm with the madonna. I shot heroin in her eyes

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

Marco is oblivious to this,wants to tell me about all his tatoos. He shows me the one of his arm with the madonna. I shot heroin in her eyes— cassian elwes

& then he pulls up his wife beater & there's a giant skull on his chest. See this huge scar a nigger tried to stab me in the heart in queens

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

& then he pulls up his wife beater & there’s a giant skull on his chest. See this huge scar a nigger tried to stab me in the heart in queens— cassian elwes

But I held up my hand just in time & I got this scar on my wrist too. I seen shit man. The air marshal whispers tell him were landing in la

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

But I held up my hand just in time & I got this scar on my wrist too. I seen shit man. The air marshal whispers tell him were landing in la— cassian elwes

Listen this flight was quick we're landing in la I say. I want to write down my email for you.Hey lady he says to woman in front gimme paper

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

Listen this flight was quick we’re landing in la I say. I want to write down my email for you.Hey lady he says to woman in front gimme paper— cassian elwes

I give him a pen and he starts to write as he swigs more pills from the little bottle. Don't forget me man. I won't I promise I say

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

I give him a pen and he starts to write as he swigs more pills from the little bottle. Don’t forget me man. I won’t I promise I say— cassian elwes

You're going to forget me man and then he punches me quite hard in the ribs. I laugh in shock. Then he whacks me on the thigh which hurts.

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

You’re going to forget me man and then he punches me quite hard in the ribs. I laugh in shock. Then he whacks me on the thigh which hurts.— cassian elwes

I stuff his address in my pocket. He wants to wrestle. I push him off jokingly which stops him. Don't forget me man he keeps saying

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

I stuff his address in my pocket. He wants to wrestle. I push him off jokingly which stops him. Don’t forget me man he keeps saying— cassian elwes

The plane starts a rapid descent. The air marshal whispers to me get up when we start taxi-ing. The cops will come on ,get out of the way

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

The plane starts a rapid descent. The air marshal whispers to me get up when we start taxi-ing. The cops will come on ,get out of the way— cassian elwes

Marco is still repeating don't forget me as we land and taxi. Wow I hate la he says again. I need to go to the bathroom I say and get up

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

Marco is still repeating don’t forget me as we land and taxi. Wow I hate la he says again. I need to go to the bathroom I say and get up— cassian elwes

The captain comes on and asks everyone to remain seated. A precaution he says. A few minutes later 2 policemen come in . Marco stands up.

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

The captain comes on and asks everyone to remain seated. A precaution he says. A few minutes later 2 policemen come in . Marco stands up.— cassian elwes

With not much fuss they handcuff him and lead him down the aisle and out of the plane. Its silence. The 2 stewardesses come up and thank me

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

With not much fuss they handcuff him and lead him down the aisle and out of the plane. Its silence. The 2 stewardesses come up and thank me— cassian elwes

20 mins later a cop comes on board & asks me 2 follow him out 2 the jetway. The lady who was coming out of the loo earlier is filling a form

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

20 mins later a cop comes on board & asks me 2 follow him out 2 the jetway. The lady who was coming out of the loo earlier is filling a form— cassian elwes

He groped me she says. I'm pregnant and I'm pressing charges. An fbi officer comes up to me and asks to write out a statement.

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

He groped me she says. I’m pregnant and I’m pressing charges. An fbi officer comes up to me and asks to write out a statement.— cassian elwes

I write that I used to be william morris agent and I've dealt with difficult people before and really this guy wasn't that difficult

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

I write that I used to be william morris agent and I’ve dealt with difficult people before and really this guy wasn’t that difficult— cassian elwes

Just then 6 police officers come quickly down the jetway with a guy they r pushing/holding/ walking. Its marco but he has blue mesh hood on

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

Just then 6 police officers come quickly down the jetway with a guy they r pushing/holding/ walking. Its marco but he has blue mesh hood on— cassian elwes

Just as they are about to reach me they make a hard right out of a side door and down some stairs to a waiting police car.

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

Just as they are about to reach me they make a hard right out of a side door and down some stairs to a waiting police car.— cassian elwes

Marco is fighting it. He tried to spit at us says one policeman trying to justify the hannibal lecter mask they have on him.

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

Marco is fighting it. He tried to spit at us says one policeman trying to justify the hannibal lecter mask they have on him.— cassian elwes

Now I can't help feeling bad for marco. Its a federal offence to make a plane land and the charges from the woman will probably be assault

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

Now I can’t help feeling bad for marco. Its a federal offence to make a plane land and the charges from the woman will probably be assault— cassian elwes

We eventually take off again. I replay the whole thing in my mind again as the adrenaline wears off. What's the message what's the point

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

We eventually take off again. I replay the whole thing in my mind again as the adrenaline wears off. What’s the message what’s the point— cassian elwes

I realize the point is these wars are fucking with our children's minds. A whole generation is being sent home screwed up.

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

I realize the point is these wars are fucking with our children’s minds. A whole generation is being sent home screwed up.— cassian elwes

I find one of the pills on the floor and the nice lady in front googles it on her phone. Its clonazepam a drug for bi- polar anxiety. Heavy

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

I find one of the pills on the floor and the nice lady in front googles it on her phone. Its clonazepam a drug for bi- polar anxiety. Heavy— cassian elwes

He was probably very anxious about flying. I opened his note and this is what he wrote :

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

He was probably very anxious about flying. I opened his note and this is what he wrote :— cassian elwes

'We all love the ones we hate. Blood. Lust. I was born in queens. We all lose hope'. Marco I won't forget you I promise.

— cassianelwes (@cassian elwes)

‘We all love the ones we hate. Blood. Lust. I was born in queens. We all lose hope’. Marco I won’t forget you I promise.— cassian elwes

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