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

No, the hat didn't say "Make American Great Again."

That would have only added to the flavor.

However, this latest United Airlines controversy involves a man who appeared to be unhappy that he hadn't been given an upgrade on a Sunday flight from Shanghai to Newark.

So, as NBC Bay Area reports, the man in a "Make America Great Again" hat went to the back of the plane and purloined a whole row of economy seats for himself. He apparently forbade other passengers from sitting in his row.

Perhaps this was some sort of "America First" policy on his part.

Indeed, footage posted to Twitter by Daniel O'Connell shows the man berating other passengers. His collected wisdom included that another passenger was a "moron" who "didn't know how to speak English."

Ah.

The man, who still hasn't been named, insisted he was "entitled to that seat," even though it doesn't appear to have been the one he'd been assigned.

It's unclear why he was quite so inflamed. O'Connell, though, offered this speculation on Twitter: "This guy has been delaying my wife's Shanghai to EWR United flt this a.m. He wants to be dragged off so he can get his 25 million. MAGA hat."

United's staff are in a very difficult situation, now that the airline has become famous for dragging the bloodied Dr. David Dao off a flight, solely because he refused to be bumped once he'd been seated.

What the airline ought to find uplifting here is that its cabin crew and passengers seemed to have been on the same side.

Another passenger who said he was on the flight--Clark Gredoña--also intimated on Facebook that the man was looking to become a victim.

"Captain, crew, and airport staff come over. Man threatens that they'll have to drag him off the plane," Gredoña said.

It seems that the cabin crew wouldn't be baited. Gredoña offered them fulsome praise, which he didn't offer MAGA Man.

"He finally relents, but not before berating some female passengers and crew, calling one passenger 'Hillary' (lol) and 'lesbian,'" he said.

A United spokesman told me: "While boarding flight 87 from Shanghai to Newark, a customer refused to comply with crew member instructions and became increasingly disruptive when asked to deplane the aircraft."

To solve this impasse, airline staff simply emptied the whole plane and waited for MAGA Man to leave too. As he exited into the terminal, footage posted by NBC shows passengers shouting "Lock Him Up!", which some might find a witty retort--especially when their plane was now severely delayed--to one of his political persuasion.

This seems an instructive lesson in how airline staff and passengers can come together and defend common sense. (I'm not speaking of politics here, merely of flying common sense.)

All is not lost when it comes to flying. Most is, but not all.

Published on: May 23, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.