Wife of Houston minister delays flight to Vail
GYPSUM – Elizabeth Vail, her husband and two children sat on the tarmac at Houston’s airport Monday and waited. Then they waited some more.After nearly two hours, the Continental Airlines plane took off for Eagle County, minus four passengers: Victoria Osteen, her husband, Joel, and the couple’s two children. The Osteens lead Lakewood Church in Houston, which the Web site belief.net.com calls America’s largest.According to passengers, Victoria Osteen was asked to leave the plane after an altercation with the plane’s flight crew. Luz Garcia, an agent at the FBI’s office in Houston said no charges will be filed. But, she added, “She failed to comply with the flight attendant’s instructions and they were asked to leave the flight.”Church spokesman Don Illof said the family was skiing in Vail on Tuesday. But the delay in Monday’s flight left other passengers annoyed.
“We sat on the ground for two hours,” said Vail, who was headed to the family condo in Snowmass. “They kept telling us to stay seated with our seatbelts on, that the flight would be leaving in a few minutes. They wouldn’t tell us what happened. They didn’t tell us until almost the end of the flight.”A couple of first-class passengers saw at least part of what happened.”As I understand it, she had some drink spill. That started a series of issues with the crew,” passenger Herbert Towning said. “Mr. Osteen was very calm, very professional,” passenger Barbara Griffith said. “It’s sad.”Another passenger, who didn’t want to give her name, agreed with Griffith’s account.”She just had attitude,” the unnamed passenger said of Victoria Osteen. “They took her off, and she never came back. Her husband went out, then he came back and got their stuff. An hour-and-a-half later, we were leaving.”It was a long wait on an airplane full of families heading for Christmas vacations.
“It was a lot of families on the flight,” Vail said, while riding herd on her own two small children while her husband got their bags. “It was very frustrating.”The Associated Press contributed to this report.Vail, Colorado