What a strange day of travel I had on Friday. For those of you who follow my posts, you’ll remember that I wasn’t able to use Star Awards Upgrades for this trip because United had temporarily suspended their participation in the program. So I boarded my first flight in London, in coach, but before take-off was able to move to an empty row – made the flight totally bearable. About 2 hours into the flight that announcement you dread came over the intercom – is there anyone on board with medical experience? If so, please ring your call button. When no one heard any call button dings, we all new it was not good news – we would likely have to stop. And that we did. That layover made a 7 hour flight into an 9.5 hour flight and created a few missed connections!
After flying through customs and security thanks to TSA’s Trusted Traveler Program, I headed over to US Airways. The flight to Tampa started like any other. But before the first class flight attendant could serve drinks to anyone beyond row 2, a man from coach darted up to the front and began talking to her. Everyone could tell something was going on, but it was hard to hear. Next, she got on her phone and called the flight attendants in the back – this is when those of us in the first few rows could start to hear what was going on – she was a loud talker. There was a lot of action for the next 20 or 30 minutes with people going from the front to the back and from the back to the front of the plane.
From what we were able to over-hear, it seems that two men were sitting in close quarters and one bumped into the other, accidentally. He got up to go to the bathroom and when he returned, the man that he bumped would not allow him to sit down. There was a verbal altercation and apparently enough was said to get a uniformed enlisted man engaged, another man – whom everyone suspected was an air marshal (because he went into the cockpit while first class was boarding the flight) involved in keeping the situation under control.
When we landed, the pilot annoucned that we weren’t at the gate – another plane, he said, was at our gate. But, those of us sitting on the front left of the plane could see there were no airplanes at any gates near us – and he asked everyone to stay seated. We then noticed several police cars with lights flashing speeding towards all the empty gates. When they parked, about 6 uniformed officers climbed the steps to the jet-bridge and then our plane began to pull in. When we stopped, the pilot asked everyone to remain seated while the police boarded the flight.
We were soon joined by at least 4 armed officers and it appeared that two may have been standing in the jet-bridge. They all headed towards the back of the plane. After a few minutes, the man everyone suspected was the air marshal disembarked first, then, 1 officer escorted the man who wasn’t allowed to sit down (the victim) off the plane, then the uniformed enlisted man disembarked and on his way out said to someone in first class – if you’re in the military, you have to help out. Then, another officer came to the front and we could all hear him say “he’s in cuffs in the back, everyone can get off.”
So that was it, we all got off the plane and as we got off saw officers talking to the enlisted man, the “victim” and the “air marshal” all in different areas of the jet bridge. No one really knows exactly what happened but it sure was an eventful day of travel and left a lot to the imagination!
I know the picture is blurry, but the officers were moving fast