NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York children’s author who dropped the “F-bomb” in exasperation over a plane delay at Detroit Metro Airport found himself ejected from the aircraft for disruptive behavior.
Robert Sayegh, 37, said Atlantic Southeast Airlines overreacted to his salty language when it summoned police aboard to escort him off the Sunday evening flight.
“The f-word is not a nice word to use,” he acknowledged in a telephone interview on Monday.
Still, he said he was complaining to himself rather than snapping at anyone in particular. “I really didn’t think I was being that loud.”
Sayegh, who lives in Brooklyn and is also a television producer, was catching a connecting flight home after attending a relative’s wedding in Kansas City, Missouri.
He was, by his own account, feeling tired. The plane was not taking off. The explanation that there was a problem with the overhead compartments did little to soothe his irritation, he said. And so, to no one in particular, he wondered aloud, using coarse language as an intensifier, what was taking so long.
“I said the f-word,” Sayegh said.
Perhaps, he recalled, he said it twice. A flight attendant seated near Sayegh took offense. Soon he was being led off the plane by police.
“I didn’t direct it at him,” Sayegh said, referring to the flight attendant. “The only reason he heard me was he was sitting in his seat behind me.”
Atlantic Southeast Airlines, which operates connecting flights for Delta, said in a statement that it was investigating the incident aboard Flight 5136, and declined to offer further details.
The airline confirmed that a passenger was removed and then booked onto another flight back to New York a couple of hours later.
“We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused,” the airline statement said.
Sayegh apologized for offending anyone with his language. “I asked the people around me if I was being rude and they said ‘No.’ If I was this loud disruptive passenger then I’m sure everyone would have been aware of it.”
Sayegh said he would complain to the airline.
“The ironic part is I’m putting a children’s book out in August so this wasn’t the kind of press I was looking for,” he added, saying there are no obscenities in the book.
Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Jerry Norton