Reminder: don’t make out on a flight on 9/11

I flew over the weekend and could definitely tell that flight attendants were more “alert” than usual. Pilots on three of my four flights also made announcements reminding people to stay seated unless they absolutely have to be up, with much more emphasis than usual. One even said that “today it’s mandatory that you keep your seatbelts fastened at all times, and please don’t stand in the aisle.” Ironically enough on that same flight the first officer was in the galley for at least 15 minutes chatting with the flight attendant, all while the beverage cart was blocking the aisle.

Thank God nothing happened this weekend and that everything went smoothly, aside from a handful of harmless diversions or reports of suspicious activity.

That being said, my favorite story has to be the Frontier flight from Denver to Detroit. The plane was apparently escorted in by two F16s, and a SWAT team raided the plane upon landing to take the three suspicious passengers off the plane in handcuffs, all while having the other passengers keep their hands on the seats in front of them.

What did they do, you ask? Well, I’m not exactly sure, since the reporting on this story is all over the place. Some say that two of the passengers were making out in the lavatory. If that’s the case I have a few questions:

a) How the hell do two people fit in an airplane lavatory?
b) How does the third person fit into this?
c) How beyond stupid do you have to be to make out in a lavatory on 9/11?

Others are reporting one of the passengers was sick, and the other two were just trying to help her out. I certainly hope that’s the case.

While I’m all for erring on the side of caution, especially on a day like yesterday, I’ve gotta wonder whether all this was really necessary, especially since I’m sure it wasn’t cheap.

The thing is, lavatories have privacy locks, not security locks. That means anyone can open a lavatory from the outside. So it’s not like the passengers could actually have trapped themselves inside the lavatory and the flight attendants had no way of stopping them. I have to wonder how much of a communication failure there must have been for something like this to happen.

You’d think that someone from the party could have let the flight attendant know their friend was sick, and the flight attendant could have “supervised” it all. Conversely, you would think the flight attendant would take it upon themselves to oversee the situation and ask what’s going on.

Ultimately I’m not judging here either way, but rather I’m just curious about the real story. There’s a difference between erring on the side of caution and costing the government a LOT of money (fighter jets, SWAT team, etc.) and causing three people a LOT of embarrassment (being dragged off a plane in handcuffs just because someone may have been a little sick).

Comments

  1. Typical American response. You really should renounce your German citizenship.

    So are we supposed to suspend all freedoms on airplanes on 9/11 for all eternity? Maybe it would have been more helpful if the FAs, cops, SWAT, etc. weren’t retarded and dealt with the issue like adults instead of shitting their pants. So what even if two people were making out in the lavatory?

    Yeah, this is me rolling my eyes – both at you and the people on the plane.

  2. @ abcx — I’ve read your response a few times now, and I’m confused. I think we’re saying the same thing? I’m saying that I suspect this was a huge waste of money and time and was ridiculous. What am I missing here?

  3. @lucky – I think abcx finds your statements of “I’m all for erring on the side of caution” and pointing out the significant costs, both financial and to civil liberties, to be at odds with each other. These sort of guilty-until-proven-innocent events aren’t exactly the things the Framers of the Constitution would be proud of.

  4. @ Chris — To me there’s a difference between erring on the side of caution and having a “guilty-until-proven-innocent” mentality. For many it’s one in the same, but that’s not how I feel. For example, if you’re on an international flight and a passenger spends half of the flight in the lavatory, I think it’s reasonable to ask them if everything is alright and observe their behavior, rather than just assume they might be sick. You shouldn’t call fighter jets or divert the flight, but is it unreasonable to just observe their behavior? To me that’s erring on the side of caution, and not the crap that clearly went down on this flight, which was pure paranoia.

    @ Lars — Wow, what crap…

  5. Privacy locks, indeed — just found out about it a couple months back, when our 5-year-old locked himself in the bathroom on a 14-hour flight. We were getting tired of going into the bathroom with him every time so we taught him how to operate it himself, and then he managed to lock the door from the inside but couldn’t open it. After several failed attempts at verbal instruction, my wife asked a flight attendant for help, and pop! We hadn’t realized how easy it was to open these doors from the outside.

  6. If we didn’t have this nonsense paranoid vigilanteism, none of this would have happened. A guy needed to use the bathroom, and the airline and homeland security morons made their lives miserable, arrested them for no crime, and treated them like dirt. No constitutional protections.

    There should be penalties against crew and passengers that create such overreactions and trigger fake incidents. Right now, unfortunately, anything goes in the name of ‘security’. And that is against what America stands for.

  7. Wow, that blog post from the woman makes me so mad.

    Lucky, it was this question of yours that set me off – How beyond stupid do you have to be to make out in a lavatory on 9/11?

    Maybe I overreacted a little bit, but I think this is was more than just a waste of time. It appears like a significant violation of civil liberties. And the three were racially profiled to boot.

    Basically some xenophobic idiot reported two Indian guys and an Arab/Jewish woman for being suspicious.

    And before anyone says it’s safe to be sorry, you’re just a bunch of cowards and aren’t deserving of this country or the world. I would give my life so that others can enjoy the freedoms that we used to. It’s a small price to pay and many have already done so before us.

  8. I have been traveling the past couple of days, so I have been a bit out of the loop. Let me get this straight: a women gets up to let her seatmate into the aisle to go to the lavatory, a man she does not even know and who also was doing nothing wrong, and she gets cuffed, strip searched,and put in jail?

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