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Passengers Revolt (a bit) on a Continental Flight

This really, really, really has been a terrible summer to fly.  A Continental Airlines flight from Caracas to Newark was re-routed to Baltimore because of bad weather.  Once there, it sat on the tarmac for 5 hours, where the plane (as we’ve heard in other cases) became disgusting.  The passengers started to get angry, then began drumming in unison on the overhead bins, leading the pilots to call the police.  The police arrived and got the passengers off the plane, which is exactly what they wanted.

Continental barely (if at all) apologized, instead insisting that they had "chips, pretzels and water" available (as if this was an acceptable response for keeping people in a tin can for 5 hours).  I have no idea why airlines repeatedly try to defend themselves in these situations — it doesn’t matter why it happened, passengers find it unacceptable to be essentially held hostage for hours on end.  Claiming there were pretzels available makes no one feel better.

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  1. Actual Question

    Why does it take over 2 weeks for stories such as these to come out? I’m always surprised when I read the story and it turns out the “incident” they are describing took place quite a bit in the past.

  2. I have no idea. The NY Times clearly held it for their Tuesday business section, but I don’t know why it wasn’t in the news earlier.

    A quick search shows that a passengers’ rights group issued a press release about this on August 8th, but no idea why it wasn’t picked up.
    http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/08-08-2007/0004642274&EDATE=

  3. Maybe what we need to do is reframe the situation. You know, like make lemonade out of lemons. Next time you travel pick up extra food and toilet paper and bring it aboard. This would be one way to pay for your trip by selling these items to other passengers. The longer you’re stuck on the tarmac, the more money you make. If you have skills, like a manicurist, massage therapist, or palm reader, it would help to defray the money you lose because you can’t return to work on time. With a little pre-planning and some luck, the possibilities are endless. Of course, no deals for airline personnel. They pay full price!

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