Tuesday, August 11, 2009


We have just had another of those strange flight travel incidents, which nobody seems to be able to explain or resolve in any way. It seems that a Continental plane pulled into Rochester, Minnesota because of bad weather, then sat on the tarmac, about fifty feet from a gate, for twelve hours. Everyone involved has diligently and rationally absolved themselves of fault in this situation. Again. The passengers suffered pretty badly, with just one bathroom. That bathroom was clogged up and inoperable. No food and no drinks were served by the one flight attendant, while all this went on. The Airport says that the terminal was open and available, but the crew of the aircraft would have had to request clearance to dock. The Airline says it knows nothing at all about any of what went on. The crew of the plane says that the terminal was closed and they had no place to dock. That someone's lying here is being totally ignored.

But it is vitally interesting to listen to interviews of the passengers after they were finally deplaned. The succession of lies that they were told by the crew of that plane is unbelievable. It is almost of daytime soap opera caliber stuff. They were told that the terminal was closed. They were told, time after time, that they would be flying out very soon, until they started to be told that a bus was coming to take them back to Minneapolis (60 miles away). Then they were told that the bus had broken down. They were served nothing by the lone flight attendant, but a pack of self-serving lies. There was no bus. There was no flight clearance. The crew never contacted the terminal to ask for docking privileges. There could be only one motivation for all the lying and misrepresentations. Money. Why else would anyone perform like that crew performed?

Flight crews start getting paid as soon as they pull away from the gate. That crew was well into overtime pay while that plane sat there on the tarmac. Not only that, but the crew was using up hours of 'air' time which would give them time off in the weeks ahead, because of the way flight rules are structured within the industry. The passengers were 'gamed' by that crew. The media allows this to continue by not letting the public know about the true motivation behind this kind of miserable flight violation.

And you might think that the passengers kind of deserved what they got because they did not get violent or complain to the point of intolerance? Think again. Post 9/11. Yes, think TSA. Think about the expressions you yourself observe on many of the near-moronic faces of airport security 'officers.' You cannot, as a passenger, encounter flight personnel, or security personnel, with an 'attitude' anymore. You will be charged with a felony, and our ridiculously skewed court system will find you guilty. It happens more than three thousand times a year in this country. The passengers had to do what they did. They had to stay quiet and take the lies. They probably even knew that they were being lied to. And there is the cell phone issue I heard brought up this morning. Once you pull away from the gate you are not allowed to use your cell phone on the aircraft. Only the crew could give you permission to do that, and guess what. Yes, you guessed it. The crew said no cell phones.

The crew will not be fired or punished for their behavior. Anymore than Officer Crowley will be punished for his illegal harassment, humiliation and arrest of Professor Gates. In fact, they will all be rewarded. The flight crew will get the off time and overtime pay, while Crowley will get promoted and have some badly written book published. Some injustices that occur in our culture are actually rewarded. I am not sure why, exactly. Maybe it is just that Jupiter is in transit, or Venus is trining Mars. But, if the airlines do not stop supporting outrageous behavior committed by their flight crews, there will be an occurance of violence at some point. One of these days, or nights, an overheated and fully stuffed aluminum tube is going to explode like a bratwurst left too long on the grill. That coming event is so easily preventable, but, sadly, I don't think anything will be done. Our whole culture is sitting on the dock of the bay, watching .....





  1. Good day! Blogger Bob here from the TSA Blog. Many feel this incident occurred due to TSA regulations, and I’m just popping into forums around the web and blogosphere to clear things up a bit. I posted the following yesterday on the TSA Blog:

    Due to thunderstorms, a flight bound for Minneapolis on Friday, August 7, was diverted to Rochester, Minnesota. Passengers were stuck inside the plane for several hours after ExpressJet made the decision not to deplane.

    Earlier today, there were media reports that led some to believe TSA regulations prevented the passengers from deplaning.

    TSA does not make decisions on whether or not passengers can deplane. We do however have the ability to recall our officers and open a checkpoint at the request of an airline or airport. No requests were made by ExpressJet on Friday or Saturday. The checkpoint resumed normal operations at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday.

    Also, passengers did not need to be screened or rescreened to deplane and re-board as long as they didn’t exit past the checkpoint and leave the non-screened sterile area of the airport.

    Please note the airline has since publically apologized to the passengers.


    Blogger Bob
    TSA Blog Team

  2. Bob from TSA comments, of course, and as I state in my blog, to wash his hands of any responsibility in the airline indecency event. Not that I accused the TSA of anything. I'm not totally stupid. And is it not very nice that this TSA Blogger Bob also mentioned that the airline apologized to the passengers. That has real meaning to those people, I am certain! There continues to be a huge oversupply of lead in the water, and I believe that members of the TSA are drinking vast quantities of it.