'I’m going through a divorce': United Airlines pilot replaced after intercom rant to passengers

Mel Buttigieg and Reuters

United Airlines replaced a pilot before takeoff on Sunday after she boarded in civilian clothes and told passengers both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were liars and that she was getting a divorce.

One passenger recorded the woman's outburst while others feared for their safety as the plain-clothed pilot asked over the intercom whether she needed to change into her uniform ahead of the flight from Austin, Texas, to San Francisco.

The pilot stood in front of travellers and began rambling about her marital problems.

A female United Airlines pilot stood in front of passengers in plain clothes and ranted through the intercom about her divorce and US politics. Picture: Silvia N’Guessan/YouTube

“Sorry I’m late, the reason I’m late is I’m going through a divorce,” she can be heard saying.

The woman then shared her views on US politics saying: “Look, I don’t care if you voted for Trump or Clinton, they’re both a**holes.”

She told the passengers she would stop her rant and let her co-pilot fly the aircraft.

“Don’t worry.... He’s a man.

“OK, if you don’t feel safe get off the plane, but otherwise we can go.”

The pilot was escorted off the plane, before a replacement got the aircraft off the ground about 90 minutes later. Picture: Randy Reiss/Twitter

Some passengers left the aircraft in fear of their safety before the employee was escorted away.

The plane took off with a replacement pilot about 90 minutes late, passengers said.

"She shows up dressed like a civilian and asked us to take a vote to see whether we should have her change into her uniform or fly as is," passenger Pam O'Neal told KPIX television upon landing in San Francisco.

"She started off by saying that she had not voted for either Trump or Clinton because they're a bunch of liars... It just really sort of went downhill from there and didn't make a lot of sense to any of us," she said.

Passenger Randy Reiss tweeted throughout the event, at first saying, "I'm shaking right now. I just left my @united flight 455 'cos the captain demonstrated that she was not mentally in a safe space."

She then mentioned she was going through a divorce, commented on an interracial couple in the first-class section by saying "yay unity," and told Reiss he did not have to fly if he felt uncomfortable, Reiss said.

"She looks at me and is like 'Did I offend you, sir? I apologise. You don't have to fly if you're not comfortable'. So I jumped up and was like 'peace, out'."

The airline apologised to customers, many of whom left the plane out of concern for their safety. Picture: Reuters

Reiss tweeted a photo of the pilot back in the terminal speaking with two uniformed officers.

"She was crying. She apologised. I wished her well & said I hope she gets the help she needs," Reiss said.

"We hold our employees to the highest standards and replaced the pilot with a new one to operate the flight, which has since departed Austin. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience," United Airlines said in a statement.

The airline declined to identify the pilot or comment beyond its previous statement apologising to customers.