Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Frontier Flight 609

I recently visited Indiana Wesleyan University for work, and had quite an eventful trip home. Here's the saga:

I boarded my direct flight from Indianapolis to Denver and was a bit bummed to find out my seat was in the last row where the seat doesn't recline, but reminded myself it was just 2 hours. The pilot announced that they had some paperwork to do before we could take off, so I got to know the ladies in the seats on either side of me. Then the pilot announced that there had been a security breech and everyone needed to get off the plane... But we were told to leave our bags because we'd be back on the plane soon.

Sitting in the back row did have its perks... The flight attendant was nearby. She reassured us that security breeches are usually no big deal and that probably someone just walked onto the jet way or something. So we got off the plane.

Then as we stood in the boarding area, we noticed that off to the left, several policemen we're interviewing a very middle eastern looking man. I immediatey started worrying that someone was irrationally accusing this man simply because of his appearance... But didn't have any details of what was going on. Meanwhile, there was another man madly pacing the boarding area, and he just made everyone nervous! So the police started watching him too... But nothing happened with him. The middle eastern looking man was taken somewhere by police.

Finally an announcement was made that we had to go back on the plane and remove all of our carry ons... Because they had to inspect the plane thoroughly, yes, down to every screw, to clear us to go again. So 5 rows at a time, we did just that. Once the federal gov't had searched high and low, it was finally announced that we could board again. But since they'd already scanned our boarding passes, they simply checked our names off a hard copy list as we rebounded. We were told that we all got free TV for the flight as a result of our two hour wait.

People were SO mad and upset because they'd missed their connecting flights in Denver and the airline wasn't promising to pay for a hotel, and their plans were messed up that they just laughed at the announcement about free TV. :) I had a great situation because Denver was my final destination and I didn't have anything major I needed to be at. But still, I felt like the general freak out response and anger towards poor employees of Frontier who were just doing their best to help in a difficult situation totally out of their control... Reflects so poorly on the selfishness of our culture. It's obvious that people not only think the world does and should revolve around their needs and schedule, plus they think they should be able to control everything in their lives. When things all of the sudden are out of their control, it's seriously complete mayhem! Wow- very sad to watch. Especially if there was a real threat... What's a two hour wait versus a plane going down?

Once back on the plane, a passenger a few rows in front of me rang his call button for assistance. He "wasn't feeling well" and his friends thought he might even be having a heart attack. So they all de-planed and the paramedics met them. Again, a man is seriously not doing well, and many passengers were frustrated that our departure was further delayed. Really people?!

So... The flight attendants did their head count, and yep, you guessed it, they were like 3 people off from the manual check list they used when we boarded the second time. A Frontier employee came to the front of the plane and announced that he needed to read off every last name on the list. After he finished, he asked if those who didn't hear their names would ring their call buttons. Shockingly, about HALF the plane reached up to ring their call buttons. And then the entire plane erupted into laughter. That poor man standing there with an entire plane laughing in his face! It was hilarious though. Then after checking his papers, he announces that he totally missed an entire page!

We finally did take off, with a flight attendant still standing in the middle of the aisle when the "flight attendants please prepare for departure" announcement was made... i.e. SIT DOWN... Bless her heart... The plane was off the ground and she was grasping seats on either side desperately trying to sit down.

I'm thankful everyone was ok, and that we had a safe flight. While traveling is a pain with all of the security measures now, I am thankful for those safety precautions.

When I got home, I googled to see if there was any more information, and apparently the passenger interviewed by police had taken a bottle of liquid into the bathroom on the plane before take off, and he didn't come out for 25 minutes... And when he did come out he no longer had the bottle. He told the man next to him that he was doing a ritualistic foot washing. I googled that, and learned that Muslims wash their feet before their prayer times. He may have been only washing his feet... But why wait until on the plane when many airports even have special places for Muslims to wash in preparation for their prayer times?!

Whatever the case, the flight attendant said, "There was a very real threat this evening, and you should be thankful for every minute you had to wait.". Yes, I have much to be thankful for!

(sorry for typos... On iPad)


Kat said...

suzy- thanks for sharing. I have been thinking a lot about Americans sense of time and how skewed it is. It makes relationships of any sort difficult. I am glad you are okay and pray that God convicts more of their lack of graciousness.

Jessica said...

wow. that is quite a story! glad your okay and that you ended up having a safe flight.