Almost a month before this week’s United fiasco, a Russian volleyball player was removed from a flight by police with a similar show of force. Only in this case, it wasn’t because the plane was overbooked – it was because the player was apparently over-height.
7-foot tall, 20-year old Alexander Kimerov is a member of Russia’s U21 National Team and plays professionally for the club Novy Urengoy. After boarding a flight on Pobeda Airlines, the airplane’s crew called police and 3 uniformed officers removed him from the flight between Novy Urengoy in Serbia and his former home in Moscow, where he played for Dynamo Moscow. Flight attendants were complaining that his long legs were impeding the aisle.
Kimerov says he has flown the same route before without any problems. Pobeda has had a series of violent conflicts recently that has prompted them to begin training staff in the martial art of Sambo.
Police told Kimerov to “behave like a man and vacate your seat. The airline is a subsidiary of Russian state-run airline Aeroflot.
Kimerov was a member of the Russian team that won the 2015 U21 World Championships.
His former teammate Alexander Volkov said afterward “What’s going on with this world, friends? A man is being taken off plane because of his height. And not just an ordinary man, but a prominent sportsman who plays for Russia.”
The video below shows the police officers pulling Kimerov from his seat and shoving him repeatedly down the aisle before a moment of calm allows him to collect his bags. There, the video cuts off.
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