Whilst living in Houston my wonderful and much loved Grandfather passed away. Myself and Connie came home to see the family, pay our respects, and be with our loved ones. Thankfully, my company was entirely understanding and let me take as much time off as I needed freely. The flight out was pretty much standard red-eye fare – empty seats, dark cabin, bored flight attendants, and the usual upside-down stomach that I get before a flight.

The flight back to Houston, via Philadelphia, was an utter nightmare.

The episode started just before we boarded, but the significance was lost upon me at the time. There were just a few more than the normal scumbags wearing Celtic strips for a normal departure from Glasgow International. It wasn’t until later did I realise what it meant, of course. I also notice a young family; a large father, a small mother, and a 3 to 5 year old little boy.

About an hour into the flight many of these uniformed scumbags were heavily drunk. They started off relatively sedate, but by three hours in they were rowdy, dancing, chanting, screaming, swearing, singing… and drinking. Oh god, the drinking. It was never ending. They drank beer, gin, wine, vodka. Anything that they could get their hands upon. 

And then there was the true villain of the piece.  On this plane, a 3 x 3 layout, there was a man next to me and my lady. I was sat in the aisle, he was at the window, Connie in between us. He was buying and then later supplied with alcohol the whole time by mates, later on refusing any more as he passed out in his seat.

It was a rough flight – Connie and I were both up and down a few times to the toilet.

Then a man four rows in front of us had an epileptic fit. That changed the atmosphere. The lead cabin crew called over the intercom for everyone to sit down; it was difficult to make them sit. Closer to landing it became clear that the plane had ran out of booze. They’d drank it all – all the swirling, drunk, swearing, shouting Celtic fans. Then, the man had a second fit. This one was more serious. The captain came on the intercom and told us that when we pulled into the gate everyone had to stay seated to allow the emergency crews on. Fair enough.

We land and the plane stays seated. Except for the guy sitting next to me and Connie – he wants up to use the bathroom. He’s shouting and swearing. As I refuse, seeing the police, air Marshall, paramedics and crew needing the space to move the man out of his seat in the prone position, he threatens me, my lady, goes head to head with me, and shouts and points. He smells of warm microwaved shit. He probably is shitting himself as he stands there. I manage to stay calm, remarkably. I actually have no idea how I was calm. He berated us both, admitting that “if your girlfriend wasn’t here I’d hit you” and all other manner of insults. He even directed his ire towards Connie herself, which drew his friends into the fray to try and calm him down. They were firmly on my side, apologising in one sentence for this inbred’s behaviour and in the second calling him to “shut the fuck up”. It was a strange situation to be in, but not one new to me.

Once it is obvious that the time for waiting is over, and the other people start moving, I let him past, and as a parting shot, he shouts “enjoy your holiday you fucking cunt” as his mates still try to calm him down. I didn’t respond to him, knowing better, but it was made even worse that I was actually going back home to Houston after being in Glasgow for my grand father’s funeral. I was approached by many passengers afterwards remarking that I handled it very well.

Never fly US Airways.

In the end it was later discovered that they were on their way to the Celtic Supporters Convention in Las Vegas.