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Thursday, August 17, 2006

On the tarmac?

I've been working a lot of hours and haven't had time to stay in touch with the world as much as I'd like or am used to; but when I first heard about this incident with the woman having a "fit" on that flight from London to Dulles, I knew it was an over-reaction. This is a 59-year-old woman, and no one on that flight can tell she's having a panic attack and is not a threat? Sure, terrorists can come in any shape and size, but what did she do that made people think she was a threat? Doesn't there have to be some reasonable presumption of a realistic threat before hundreds of people are inconvenienced? Hell, they weren't just inconvenienced...this person comes undone and everyone else on the plane becomes a suspect.
Even though I'd be very frustrated and probably angry if I'd been on that flight and it was diverted, I'd give them the benefit of being overcautious for our benefit. But if you make me a suspect because of someone else's actions, there'll be hell to pay. You've already searched my person far more than I'd appreciate, searched all my belongings as well, and then you're going to do it again on the tarmac of the airport after you've taken everyone off the plane? I have a very strong suspension that had I been on that flight and had that happen to me, this woman who's at the center of the situation wouldn't have been the only one arrested for throwing a fit that day!


AA said...

It seems like there was a bit of over-reaction involved but, under the circumstances given recent events, it's rather understandable. According to today's news, the irrational passenger - returning from Pakistan of all places - referenced al-Qaeda, 9/11, and homemade bombs in her mutterings before dropping her pants to urinate on the floor. Not exactly ordinary behavior in coach.
Considering how edgy people are these days when it comes to flying (not to mention that this plane had departed from Heathrow, the very locale of the recently foiled plot) and given the nature of the unruly behavior, i'm not all that surprised by the reaction of the passengers and crew. I suspect that this won't be the last "false alarm" of this type that we hear about. As to whether the heightened awareness leading to more active passenger vigilance is a good thing or not, it's hard to say but regardless of one's opinion on the matter, I think these types of events are to become more and more common.

Zebster said...

Very well said, AA. I had heard the initial report that included an al Qaeda note ref and something about vaseline and a screw driver but heard shortly after that it wasn't so. Like I said, I'm not nearly in the loop right now as I want to be and prefaced my comments accordingly.
Thanks for including the vigilance of passengers angle, something I had intended on mentioning before I started nodding off typing.
I commend the passengers also for their obvious tolerance and patience but still don't think I could have or would want to.
I'm still unclear how her actions cause the need to recheck all passengers' luggage.

Ingrid said...

Hey Zeb, how have you been? Missed 'seeing you around' but I am sure that Shelly has the 'complaining rights' on that one! James started to snore so I guess I better head off the computer and check out your site again tomorrow...
good night!

Sally said...

One does wonder if this hyper-vigilance is a good thing or not. I guess people follow the "better safe than sorry" adage right now. My worry is that after awhile these false alarms are too common and the real stuff sneaks through...