Last April & May I wrote a couple of pieces citing a rash of emergency landings by various aircraft in Ireland. The nature of these unnecessary landings were frivolous enough in each case but each one involved dumping thousands of euros of fuel in order to land. At the time I did make the point that a tad of good old fashioned common sense might have precluded the need in the first place.
The last example I gave in that article referred to an emergency landing in Belfast and that incident had its sequel in court this week.
The lad in question from California took a flight from London to Italy to see family and was on his way back to the States when the incident occurred. Guess what the wildly aggressive and obviously dangerous fucker actually did to the flight attendant just after take-off? "Did he produce a gun John?" …… Nope! …….. Bomb?" …… Nope! …….."Punch the woman?"…… Nope! …….. "Hand up her uniform?" …… Nope! …….. "We give in!"
Apparently, he sat there as bold as brass and asked for crackers, if you don't mind. He actually asked, "May I have some crackers please?" The poor woman must have been in fear of her life. The story behind it is that the lad was down to his last few bob, hadn't eaten in a while and just wanted something to quiet his stomach acids so he could go to sleep. But, 'oh no!' Cue a heavy dose of politically correct outrage. "I'll give you fucking crackers," I can almost hear the air hostess thinking. All hell then breaks loose, the captain is called down and about four hundred of the uniforms gather in case the poor cracker-pot needs some restraining. Mayday, mayday!
Thousands of fuel had to dumped in the mad gallop to get the plane down in Northern Ireland, presumably so that an SAS unit could subdue the deranged cracker. The delay of the diversion meant that flying hours were exceeded and all 264 passengers had to get off for the night, some sleeping on airport floors. This was a United Airlines flight by the way so the guy was with his own nationality. But think of how much compensation the airline had to pay for that unnecessary overnight layover. The fuel alone would have run to thousands and the downtime must have cost a fortune too. To top it all, the guy in question, Jeremiah Mathis Thede, 42, was forced to stay in Belfast for 10 months until the trial. All in all then it was a farce caused by crass stupidity and intolerance.
When he did get his day out before the local beak, the details unfolded. The jury then recessed overnight, came back to hear summations and then took thirty minutes to make up their minds. "Not guilty M'lud!" But I suggest that the stupid bitch who refused him his crackers outside Rome is as guilty as hell. I have no doubt that the lad himself could have been annoying, even possibly damned annoying. But a few crackers and a patient smile could have ended the matter in the skies over Rome. Instead we had drama, offense taken, emergency declared and a mad dash to land an aircraft which cost the company thousands of dollars.
Well, it's going to cost the idiots more because the cracker-fiend intends to sue the wings off the bastards and good luck to him. Ten months in Belfast is pure torture, peace or no peace. They don't even speak english for fuck's sake. I reckon armed with the judgement of Antrim Crown Court, our hero Jeremiah will have a queue of clever lawyers waiting for him to land in California next week. Messrs. Sue, Grabbit & Run will be knocking each other out of the way to get his attention and no matter which he chooses, United Airlines are in for a sticky day in court.
Good enough for them, I say! Perhaps the flight attendant in question might have her wings clipped also?