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Archive for April 9th, 2010

So there I was, on board my plane heading out for a much anticipated trip. My connection would take me through Houston before my final destination. The usual instructions began to be administered by the flight crew. We hadn’t yet pulled away from the gate, but I noticed the passenger sitting next to me had not yet turned off their phone. No biggie… not yet anyway.

We back away from the gate, and the flight attendants make their way up and down the isles several times. Each time, they tell that passenger to get off the phone and turn it off. Each time they leave, the person pulls their phone out and resumes talking. I am still figuring by the time we start to taxi toward the runway this person will actually stop talking on their phone, turn it off and put it away like the other 150 people on the plane.

It was not to be so. We are actually taxing to the runway, and this person is still TALKING on their phone… huddled over by the window. The flight attendants are buckling up and getting ready for take off. I’m a little nervous at this point because we have all been told how “dangerous” it could be for individuals to have their electronics and phones on during taxi and take off (or during the whole flight where phones are concerned).

I’m sitting on the isle and hoping that I can catch the eye of one of the flight attendants. One finally looks my way and I make the international hand symbol for phone. One of them comes back and tells the passenger again (in a very pointed and slightly irritated manner) to turn off the phone and put it away or they will not be making it to Texas. The passenger says “Fine! I am getting off this plane.” A 2nd attendant came back and confirmed the demands. OK. Then they notify the pilots, and the plane stops taxing to the runway, turns around and makes the long drive back to the gate. Are you KIDDING me? I am not sure this passenger knew what hot mess they had gotten themselves into by not complying with the flight crew’s instructions. It is a federal offense to disobey any instructions given to you by the flight crew.

The passenger stomps to the front thinking they can just walk off the plane and catch another flight. They are directed back to their seat, over the top of me again. In a few moments a US Marshall boards the plane, comes to my row and asks the passenger to leave the plane–in front of the Marshall. The entire plane applauds and then we begin the process of getting to the runway again.

The main problem with this selfish stunt pulled by that passenger was not the possibility that they had malicious intent for the flight, but that most of us passengers either missed connections or nearly pulled a hamstring doing the “OJ Run” through the airport terminals to our connecting gates.

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