My trip to DC

(I know this is a canned and copyrighted image, but it does relate to the story ahead)

On my last trip to DC (a one hour flight that was four hours late, and rerouted through Philadelphia – top that, John) the flight was empty enough that they had to move people to the back to meet weight distribution requirements. I ended up in the very last row, and was joined in my row by a large-framed British man who had a completely inflexible left leg that stuck out awkwardly into the aisle.

Most of the trip was uneventful. When the flight attendant went to take her seat at the very, very back of the plane in preparation for landing, the British man made some bitter remarks about having to sit in the back row with his wrecked knee and how he had specifically purchased a seat with more legroom. (Did he mean the exit row? I thought those people had to be able-bodied). One of the other passengers asked what happened to his leg, and he started talking about an old rugby injury or something, then the flight attendant called from her back seat, “Sir, that is a security issue”. He said that yes, he understood why he had to sit in the last row, then resumed his story. Once again: “Sir, that is a security issue”. After one more round of this, it became clear: the security issue was not where he was sitting, but his discussion of his injury, which I suppose could be construed as…what? A critique of the airline safety policies? Other passengers started chiming in: “It’s a free country!” “Let him speak!”

I was not among the chimers. Instead, I adopted my best living-in-East-Germany-in-the-1970s blank expression and waited for the plane to land. The British man’s tone had progressed from arch to genteel to obsequious, and I had a feeling what that meant. Sure enough, three uniformed policemen were there to greet our plane. They also asked the man who yelled “Let him speak!” to step aside.

On a positive note, earlier when I was stuck in Philadelphia I heard an announcement for Flight 1492 to Columbus, and thought that was a very nice touch.

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