A New Standard Of Realism - What To Do On An Airplane

December 2001

by Edward Poll, J.D., M.B.A., CMC

The Washington Times, September 19th edition, quoted the pilot of a flight. A portion of his commentary is well-worth reading more than once:

"...If someone were to stand up, brandish something such as a plastic knife and say 'This is a hijacking' or words to that effect, here is what you should do: Every one of you should stand up and immediately throw things at that person - pillows, books, magazines, eyeglasses, shoes - anything that will throw him off balance and distract his attention. If he has a confederate or two, do the same with them. Most important: get a blanket over him, then wrestle him to the floor and keep him there. We'll land the plane at the nearest airport and the authorities will take it from there. Remember, there will be one of him and maybe a few confederates, but there are many more of you. You can overwhelm them. The Declaration of Independence says 'We, the people...' and that's just what it is when we're up in the air: We, the people vs. would-be terrorists."

The pilot continued "...I don't think we are going to have any such problem today or tomorrow or for a while, but sometime down the road, it is going to happen again and I want you to know what to do. Now, since we're a family for the next few hours, I'll ask you to turn to the person next to you, introduce yourself, tell them a little about yourself, and ask them to do the same."

This may be a new standard of realism. The pilot showed his passengers that a hijacking does not have to result in hopelessness and terror, but victory over the perpetrators!

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December 2001