Saturday, April 21, 2012

Not above the law

On the plane ride to Washington, there was a man sitting just behind us talking on his cell phone prior to takeoff.  The announcement was made that all electronic devices needed to be turned off.  He was talking about some big business meeting he had as soon as he arrived in Washington and he was trying to finalize the details so he kept speaking on the phone.
The flight attendant come over and reminded him that all cell phones needed to be off and he said yes, but he took his time finishing as she stood there watching him.  When he finished, she made her way around the cabin preparing for takeoff and when she walked past him again, he was back on the phone.
The flight attendant told him that she was going to have to kick him off the plane, at which point he said, "no, no, I'm getting off" and he ended his call.
By this time the plane had backed away from the gate and we came to a stop.  We stayed there for 5 minutes and then the plane started moving back toward the gate.  A few minutes later the cabin door opened, a security officer came in, the pilot asked the man to please come with them, and he was escorted off the plane.
After we took off the flight attendant came down the aisle with drinks and we told her we supported her.  She said it was the first time in 7 years that she had to do that.  Later the pilot came over the speaker and apologize for the inconvenience.  He explained that the airlines are under a lot of rules and scrutiny and that when a situation like that takes place the attendant and the pilot have no way of knowing if there is an airline or FAA observer on board, so they have to stick to the rules.
Two thoughts on this.
First, this is a unionized flight attendant.  She followed the rules and even if a complaint had been filed by this man, she would be safe because she did the right thing. What a great protection for people whose job involve the safety of others.  It allows them to advocate for safety, much like unionized nurses.
Second, what makes some people believe they are above the law?  They seem to think that they are so important that they can do as they please.  Not only are their actions illegal, they jeopardise the safety of others.

There was a Connecticut State Police car outside the plane when the plane when the man was taken off.  I don't know if he was arrested, but I know he missed his meeting.

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