Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

He didn't seem entirely like a charmer.

Here was a packed Delta Airlines flight from Atlanta to Allentown, Pennsylvania, that was adorned by a man who was in a good mood.

At least I assume so.

Shortly before the plane took off, he decided to stand up and hector the whole plane about the joys of Donald Trump and the lesser status of Hillary Clinton.

It's unclear why he might have done this.

Perhaps he was Jacked up on a little too much Daniels. Perhaps he was merely emboldened by our new era of political incorrectness.

It seems, according to the Morning Call, that he'd been in conversation with passenger Emma Baum before the flight had boarded.

The video she posted to Facebook showed him all too ready to tell everyone how things were and how things were going to be, complete with phrases such as "Hillary b****es."

Once 2.2 million people had seen the video, Delta piped up and apologized.

In a statement, the company said: "We are sorry to our customers who experienced this disruption. We have followed up with the teams involved and all agree that this customer should not have been allowed to continue on the flight."

But he was. And everyone appears to have sat in silence, tolerating his tirade until he was done.

Was it so hard for the staff to come over, corral him, and tell him to sit down and shut up? Was it even harder for the captain to offload his off-color cargo?

Baum said that the man was initially taken off the plane, but then allowed back on. This seems a curious decision, one likely to make several people uncomfortable, not least the cabin crew.

"The behavior we see in this video does not square with our training or culture and follow up will continue so we can better ensure our employees will know they will be fully supported to make the right decisions when these issues arise," Delta insisted.

It could be that Delta's employees worried they wouldn't be supported. It could be that they feared there would be retribution against them. It seems that there may not have been leadership here.

This contrasts with the attitude of a United Airlines pilot who wisely made an announcement when a politically charged altercation occurred on his flight.

He took charge. "We're going to be in a metal tube at 35,000 feet," he said.

He then explained that while everyone might have their political views, they should keep them to themselves and just look forward to a nice time in Puerto Vallarta.

Then, in a clear, lightly forceful tone, he added: "If there's anybody who has a problem with this" and needs "to vent or rant or rave, there's another flight tomorrow. You're not going to be on this one."

There. Everyone knew who was the boss.

On the Delta flight, it seems that decisive action wasn't taken. The passenger ranted and harassed, but ultimately wasn't sanctioned in any way.

It starts, one supposes, at the top. Or, in this case, in the cockpit.

Leadership sets the tone and ensures that it's followed.

We're heading into some very troublesome times when several norms will be tested to the full. This will happen in personal, as well as in business situations.

The United captain suggested that decency was paramount. He set that tone with the very decency that he demanded.

On the Delta flight, however, there was a leadership vacuum. That's a very dangerous thing.

Indeed, that's something Delta's CEO Ed Bastian has now, almost a week after the incident, issued his own statement.

He said that Delta's staff made the best decision they could, given what they knew.

He added: "However, if our colleagues had witnessed firsthand what was shown in the video, there is no question they would have removed him from the aircraft. He will never again be allowed on a Delta plane."

That's a little more like it.

Published on: Nov 28, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.