First hand account from that LAX flight yesterday

Yesterday I posted about a flight being detained at LAX because of suspicious activity, and later it was announced it was a disturbance with a passenger who wouldn’t listen to flight attendant instructions. Well apparently Cruftbox was on that flight and posted a first hand account of what happened in the comments. He writes:

I was on the plane, in the back row.

The guy really had to go to the bathroom and didn’t listen to the flight attendants telling him to sit down. We were first in line to take off and it forced the plane to leave the runway.

The guy also caused trouble at the gate, so the plane headed back to the gate to take him off. Once they discovered he had been speaking arabic and that it was Yom Kippur the crazy begun.

The plane filled up with LAPD, TSA, and FBI. Paranoia began with the passengers quickly. I met the bomb testing guy. We all had to deplane while they went over the whole plane with dogs and lots of people. We got rescreened and got back on the plane. 4+ hours later, the plane took off.

All because a guy couldn’t wait until after takeoff to pee.

So there you have it.

11 Replies to “First hand account from that LAX flight yesterday”

  1. Stupid guy. Plain and simple, dumb clueless buffoon.

    I think substantial fines should be in place, if someone does that they get fined a penalty of 5000+ dollars. The airline would pay all the passengers for their inconvenience and the offending buffoon would be on the hook for it and the airline would collect or the offending buffoon would face jailtime.

  2. Wow. If he’d had severe diarrhea, would they have been more forgiving? Or would we call him a “dumb clueless buffoon” for not effectively planning his bowel movements around his flight schedule? Geez.

    Seems more likely this all happened because the guy spoke Arabic, and fit their profile in other ways.

  3. Nancy,
    The engines were revving, 30 sec from take off. And diarrhea was not indicated. I call him a dumb clueless buffoon because of the scenario. Seriously, unless he has been under a rock post 9/11 and unaware of everything that has happened with air travel since, he has no excuse for his behavior. Or so I think.

    That said, I hear you Nancy. Although, in fairness to the flight attendant, had he just used the lavatory and sat back down, it does not sound as though it would have caused the turn around. Instead he was in there a minute and came out left the door ajar and a panel had been torn back inside there. So the flight attendant was alarmed and notified the pilot. So while the arabic perhaps played a factor, I think it’s the specific behavior of this dude. In addition, flight attendants deal with middle eastern people on a regular occasion with nary an issue. I see it firsthand in travel all the time.

    As for the other 110 passengers delayed 4+ hours who were on the flight, they are the ones that have my empathy.

  4. Nathan, is he a clueless buffoon because he should have known that since he was a Middle Easter looking man he should have known the trouble it would have caused? Because I doubt it would have resulted in the same response otherwise.

    And if that is what you believe, do you also think black men should tread lightly in predominately white areas and should expect it when they get pulled over and given suspicious looks?

  5. Well, as someone directly affected and an actual witness I think the guy had plenty of time to use the restroom before takeoff. The plane was already 30+ minutes late moving away from the jetway.

    His actions directly affected me and many other people. When we headed back to the gate I assumed it was because he made the takeoff abort. I was told that “the pilot doesn’t stand for this kind of behavior.

    The main factor in the security escalation was that the small door under the sink was open after he left the toilet. The flight attendants said that it doesn’t open easily and he must have touched it. They also mentioned that he caused trouble at the gate.

    It wasn’t till after he was off the plane that anyone mentioned speaking Arabic. I think it added to the freakout, but the cause of the security investigations was his actions, not anything else.

    I will say that everyone was very nice on the security side. From the airlines, TSA, LAPD, FBI, etc., all of them were courteous, calming to the freaked passengers, and open about what was going on. They said it was likely nothing, but better ‘safe than sorry’.

    I did miss my 4 hours of free time in NY though. :(

  6. David,
    Do I think he should have known better? Well actually, fair or not, yes. But that is beside my issue. You doubt the same response because of the middle eastern aspect and that is my point, given the specifics, I propose the same would have happened.

    Now the larger can of worms related to my comment but not the bones of it. An argument certainly hashed out plenty. But fwiw, I’ll bite. So to your black man white neighborhood scenario… It depends, on many factors, the area for one. “predominately white areas” can mean very different things. The south/portland oregon/west hollywood/brentwood just to name a few. How is the person dressed? That factors in significantly. I’d argure that some dishelved white methhead would get quicker attention in many situations… there are plenty of variables you know. But me thinking “black men should tread lightly” is not what I’d say yes to, however if I were a black man and I was in an area that felt hostile to me, black or white or asian or whatever I would tread in the safest way I deemed fit. With the authorities however though, we are talking profiling.

    I think everybody profiles, if someone just stole your wallet off your porch and you ran down the street, would you shake down the mom walking with her daughter? We profile eachother all the time, we make snap judgements based on attire/composure/voice/etc. it’s no wonder the PDs across the land had to institute guidelines to keep it in check, it’s human nature.

    So David, I guess for me it boils down to this. Is there still profiling that is wack. Yes. But do I think it’s not what it used to be? Absolutely. Lastly, as you can tell, I am hesitant to quickly draw that card when considering the motive of another person.

  7. I’m not sure what airline was involved here, but I suspect it had the same requirements as those found on the American Airlines website:

    “– Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) require customers to be seated with their seat belts properly fastened during takeoff, landing and any time the “fasten seat belt” sign is lighted during flight. The regulations apply to several circumstances:

    — When the aircraft leaves the gate and until it climbs after takeoff.

    — Whenever the “fasten seat belt” sign is lighted.

    — During landing, and until the aircraft reaches the gate and comes to a complete stop.

    — During severe weather conditions, such as storms or strong headwinds.”

    So, them’s the rules, and thus, based on what’s been reported here, I don’t see that the airline deviated from proper procedure. It would be pretty silly if the rules didn’t apply every time someone simply said “but I really really have to go.” As for Middle East, Arabic speaking, and diarrhea, that all sounds like unfounded speculation to me.

  8. Well, it sounds as though it was obviously more than a “had to piss” issue. I, myself, have nearly jumped up during takeoff because I had to go so badly. Especially if the plane was delayed. I feel for my small-bladdered brethren. That said, if he messed with stuff in the lav, then an investigation must be done. Better to arrive in NY late than not at all!

    Glad it all worked out in the end…..even if it meant less party time in NY.

  9. Safety has to come first.
    It’s just a shame so many people can get inconvenienced (not just the affected flight it probably has a knock on effect for many other flights.

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