Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
There’s a peculiar togetherness that passengers feel when they’re floating through the sky in an inflated metal toothpaste tube.
You might not know each other. You might not like the look or even smell of each other.
But you know you might be called to band together if some sort of emergency strikes.
Yesterday, on a flight from Portland, Maine to Atlanta, a man allegedly became unruly.
Witnesses say he attempted to attack other passengers, as well as the plane itself.
Passengers told Fox 5 that the man had even threatened to “take the plane down.”
What would you do, if you encountered such an incident? Would you wait for the Flight Attendants to deal with it? Would you offer to help?
James Tennell told Fox 5: “Somebody had to do something.”
Perhaps it was easier for Tennell to believe he was that somebody. He had formerly been a corrections officer.
So he and another man — said to be a member of the Coast Guard — took it upon themselves to be Air Marshals for the day and restrain the man.
Indeed, reports suggest they were doing such a good job of it that Flight Attendants gave them some handcuffs to secure the man in some sort of stable and unthreatening position.
Tennell told Fox 5 that passengers should, indeed, act quickly to quell such a situation and should get help if they don’t feel confident in their ability to subdue an unruly human.
But is that airline policy? What if passengers confront a fellow passenger and it doesn’t go as well as it did in this case? What if they themselves get hurt?
In moments of clear danger, perhaps few worry about such things and, like Tennell, simply step in to help.
But does Delta encourage passengers to join in?
An airline spokeswoman told me:
Delta flight 1249 from Portland, Maine to Atlanta was met by law enforcement in Atlanta due to a customer disturbance on board. Delta appreciates the assistance from those customers who aided the crew and applauds the professionalism of our flight attendants for their efforts in deescalating the situation. The safety and security of our customers and crew are always Delta’s top priority.
The truth is, I suspect, that thought airline staff are trained to deal with hopefully every eventuality, they sometimes need passengers’ help.
It’s little different from asking if there’s a doctor on board. It’s just that what’s sometimes needed is muscle.
In this case, though, it seems that Tennell simply volunteered.
Even if airlines sometimes don’t make us feel this way, when we’re up in the air, we’re all in it together.