Tuesday, December 13, 2011

From Our Don't Cross Your Eyes within 1,000 Feet of an Airliner File ...

When a well-known actor was recently escorted from First Class for acting less than, the resulting press coverage couldn't help but make the incident look like an elaborate publicity stunt.  Was it really necessary to mention the specific playphone game that caused the actor, whose name we're not mentioning here simply because we're sick of seeing it, to disobey the flight crew and thumb away on his phone?

The game, Posturing with People (a name we made up, because we're also tired of seeing it) was gratuitously mentioned not once, but three times in the initial wire coverage, and every media outlet thereafter seemed compelled to mention Posturing with People in the breathless way that the real names of rappers are mentioned only after they've been shot.

Posturing with People.
Posturing with People.
Posturing with People.

Hopefully we're done now.

As easy as it might be to lump this into either the Celebrity Behaving Badly or Pea-Eye-Double-Essy-Flight-Attendant-on-a-Power-Trip Files, this internet blog is (almost) ignoring this too-smart-for-the-media publicity tweet and filing it under Mega-rich Celebrity Who's Too Cheap to Buy a NetJets Share.

Such twit-gawkering baubles distract from less-made-for-TMZ incidents of cabin rage where seemingly minor flight attendant/passenger conflicts are escalated into matters of national security, as in the case of three women who were recently booted off an AirTran flight in West Palm Beach for having the temerity to question the behavior of a flight attendant.

In an account not disputed by the airline, a flight attendant moved a bag from one overhead shelf to another.  The bag's owner complained about the handling of the bag, which contained fragile items.  The flight attendant took issue.  A nearby passenger deemed this the perfect time to complain about her broken seat and the flight attendant invited both women to leave the airplane before a third woman came to their verbal defense in time join them on a perp walk off the airplane past roused-just-in-case Palm Beach County sheriff's deputies.

No drunkenness ... no threats.  At worst maybe three testy passengers who might have been easily left to pound sand and compose nasty letters-to-the-CEO during the flight to Westchester County.

Unless these women failed to buckle in, delaying an airline flight and diverting law enforcement resources for such a petty spat calls for a closer look, not from the airline, which has made its position clear by expressing nothing but nothing in its public response, and not from passengers, who are always free to vote with their wallets, but from the people charged with making our air travel system safe from real threats.

M.O.

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