Monday, February 11, 2008

An Eye Opener

Have you ever got on an early morning flight and been amazed just how many people ask for a drink, other than tea and coffee that is? The reasons why they do so are of course many and varied. There are those who just need a drink to get themselves through the whole experience – fear is a dreadful thing. I remember one early morning flight from Glasgow to London where a lady passenger was so fearful that she had taken a couple of Valium, and then once on board she set about the drink. Twenty minutes from landing she had fallen sound asleep and when the aircraft landed in London she was still out for the count and had to be carried off the plane. There are others for whom that early morning drink is the hair of the dog, and then there are those who have a drink problem. Last of all there are those who drink for the simplest of reasons; it’s free.

So nothing unusual on the 6.30am flight from Detroit to Fort Wayne, Indiana, when two men got on and one started drinking. It’s only a twenty-five minute flight but by the time they arrived he’d already become a little excitable. Some passengers disembarked, and more got on for the next leg to Indianapolis. Soon enough they were under way again and the man continued to drink. His behaviour went from rowdy to downright obnoxious, to such an extent that the flight attendant informed the captain.

Once they arrived at Indianapolis the captain decided his behaviour was unacceptable and ordered him off the flight. The drunken passenger argued that he needed to carry on to Atlanta, but the captain was having none of it. His, sober, companion appealed too, but the captain was unmoved and the inebriated man was taken off the flight.

Once they were in the air again and about 25 minutes into the hour and a half flight to Atlanta, the cockpit radio crackled into life. The conversation went like this:

“Captain, did you kick a passenger off your flight in Indianapolis?”
“Yes, he was drunk and disorderly.”
“Was he with someone?”
“Are they still on the plane?”
“That’s good. The man you ejected was sergeant XXX from the Detroit Police Dept and the man with him is the prisoner he’s escorting.”

The captain immediately asked the flight attendants to upgrade the prisoner to first class. Once they landed in Atlanta, he went back to see the man and thanked him for flying with the airline. The pilot then told him that some people had come to meet him off the flight. “You know?” asked the man. “Yes, we know.” Replied the captain.

The white-collar criminal was then returned to custody and continued with his extradition. It is not known how the sergeant’s return to the office went, or whether he has yet lived the episode down.

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