We hear about it every year, the people who get upset with the rules on a passenger jet and act like a jackass at 30,000 feet and 500 mph.
That never seems smart, but one day last May it got even worse when a distraught man tried to commit suicide on a plane — and take the rest of the passengers with him.
According to the Associated Press report on this week’s legal proceedings: “Reynel Alcaide of Burbank, Ill., pleaded guilty Friday in federal court in St. Louis to interference with flight crew members and attendants. Sentencing is March 8.
“Alcaide was on a Continental Airlines flight traveling from Houston to Chicago on May 8 when he repeatedly tried to open an exit door when the plane was in the air.
“Passengers and crew members eventually subdued him, and the flight was diverted to Lambert Airport in St. Louis.
“A prosecutor says Alcaide told interviewers he was having marital problems and that he had tried to commit suicide before.”
The difference is, if you take Alcaide’s way out, you do it by creating explosive decompression at a height that is bound to cost others their lives, too.
This is more than just a sad story.
It’s an important lessons for those of you who plan to travel this Christmas season.
And even with today’s gut-punch of Recession-hit wages versus Inflation-backed prices, some people are still traveling.
For them, this is an example of why it’s necessary for the officials to have rules, especially at 30,000 feet.
People love to gripe about how their plans were messed up because of steps flight officials have taken, and it is frustrating to have to alter your plans. But when those decisions are made for safety’s sake, it would be a good idea to just shut up and roll with the punches.
When, for example, there is a problem discovered before a plane takes off and it slows things down, perhaps it would be worthwhile to ask whether you’d like this problem discovered on the ground or at a dangerous altitude.
This Continental flight crew were heroes.
The report didn’t mention how many people were on board that plane during this unfortunate incident, but all — or at least many — of them owe their lives to these people doing their jobs.
Just a cautionary suggestion for holiday travel inconveniences that DON’T end up as a holiday tragedy, thanks to someone doing their job.
— Chuck Smith