A little-publicized event occurred this past month in San Diego. A whacked-out passenger boarding an American Airlines jet yelled, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I can’t take this flight!Ã¢â‚¬Â grabbed his carry-on luggage and blew past the flight attendants and off the plane. Airport security was notified but was never able to locate the distraughtÃ¢â‚¬â€or, who knows, dangerousÃ¢â‚¬â€passenger for questioning.
In the meantime, the Dallas-Fort Worth bound flight crew must have thought, Ã¢â‚¬Å“No big deal.Ã¢â‚¬Â They just loaded up the remaining passengers, shut the door, put the plane in gear and drove away from the gate.
The passengers, however had other ideasÃ¢â‚¬â€like checking to make sure the guy didn’t leave any surprises on board. Mind you, these were the passengers, not the pilots or cabin crew, who decided, “Wait a minute, Jack! We’re not going anywhere until you check out this airplane.”
According to a report carried on Internet Broadcasting Systems, “Federal security director Mike Aguilar [said that] nervous passengers who remained on board objected, and the captain returned the plane to its gate so that it could be checked for security breaches.”
I can imagine that those passengers could be characterized as “nervous.” I sure as hell would be. But I’d also throw in adjectives such as smart, assertive, conscientious, and responsible. Those passengers deserve a commendation for taking control of their own fate and having the guts to insist that the pilots (who could be armed!) listen to them.
In every presentation I make and every workshop I lead on the subject of travel security, the theme I hammer home is always the same: Take responsibility for your own safety while traveling. Here is a group that did exactly that. Good for them!