JetBlue flight attendant assaults elderly woman or vice versa? One of them is to pay fines

Imagine your grandmother (or mother) being grabbed by the arm and moved down a plane aisle by a flight attendant. Is the flight attendant being gentle and understanding? Respectful? Particularly since your grandmother is from another culture and has been in route for 30-hours. In the case of Talat Taharia, a woman from Pakistan, the Jet Blue flight attendant forcibly moved her from the exit aisle and made her sit next to someone she doesn’t know. Taharia, however is looking at a planeload of fines. Here’s why.

According to the flight attendant, she had Taharia move from the exit row 15 times and Taharia “yanked her down the aisle.” Taharia is countering with that’s impossible. After all, look at her.

From this article’s description, it seems that Taharia wasn’t just in the exit row seat, but stretched out in the exit row floor trying to catch some shut eye. Poor thing, she’d been traveling for 30 hours, after all. She was pooped and saw some space. Maybe she’s not that big, a bitty person actually, not even her big toe would get in the way of the drink cart, and figured what’s the harm?

Also, according to the flight attendant, When the flight attendant asked her to move, it was Taharia who became crabby and grabby. She actually assaulted the flight attendant. The flight attendant said she could have been arrested even.

Who is right? Who pushed and who pulled? How many times did Taharia lay her head on the plane’s floor looking for some peace and quiet? The FAA has just thrown a book of fines, to the tune of $6,000, at Taharia.

Here’s what I envision happening. A misunderstanding where both people were not patient enough. To Taharia, the exit seat was open, and so was the floor, therefore up for grabs. One can sleep wherever there’s a space on trains. Why not planes? I’m also wondering how well she understands English, particularly when rattled. Also, considering that she just left family in Pakistan, and it’s not the most stable place on the planet, her emotions may have already been on edge.

The flight attendant, doing her job, saw safety first, and may not have known a darned thing about elderly women originally from Pakistan which may have heightened the problem. Only people who can handle the job of being in an exit row in case there’s a disaster are supposed to sit in one of those seats. The elderly woman was showing she couldn’t take directions all that well. Still, why not take the time out to help the woman find a solution to wanting to get some sleep? Supposedly the flight from Pakistan to the U.S. wasn’t full. Offer a suggestion about laying down across seats if there is an empty row, and whatever you do, don’t put an older woman next to a person she doesn’t know.

Here’s a truth about human behavior, when pushed negatively, people respond–negatively. From what I read, these two needed a mediator. That day back in November was not good for either one of them. []

60 British soldiers, some bent on boozing, booted from plane

Of the sixty British soldiers from the 2nd Battalion Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment who got on a plane ready for a holiday, not all of them had their own booze with them. Not all of them were already sloshed when they headed up the aisle to take a seat and determined to drink more– even if it meant drinking the alcohol that they had bought on board with them.

The flight attendant, you see, didn’t think giving these lads another drop was a good idea, so she feigned ignorance when asked if the cart had any libations. When those who forgot their manners said they would drink their own then, and she begged to differ, it didn’t help when one of them smarted off with, “‘You’re not going to stop us from drinking our own booze; we’re trained to kill.'”

Good one guy.

I can just see her thinking, “Oh, now you’ve gone and done it.”

The result of the nonsense was that all sixty soldiers were removed from the plane, a feat that involved getting the other passengers off the plane as well, unloading all the luggage, having the passengers pick out theirs, and then reloading the non-soldier passengers and their luggage back on the plane.

Kind of makes me tired thinking about it. I’m sure the passengers were relieved they wouldn’t have to live through a flight like those who had the misfortune to be on the flight in January with 40 drunk Irish guys.

The military is not too happy with the men who caused the problems and claim that they are sorting the bad apples from the ones that just happened to be in the barrel with them, thus having their leave spoiled by idiots. Charges haven’t been filed yet. Maybe there are a few fellows cleaning bathrooms with toothbrushes. I’ve seen that in the movies.

Click the pictures to read more tales of booze gone bad in the skies …

Postwar Iraq gets its “first” tourist

It’s been over five years since the invasion of Iraq, and the country seems to be slowly emerging from the ruins of five years of conflict. Yet despite the progress, most would agree there’s a long way to go before the country is ready to again welcome “Western” tourism. Random violence remains a real threat and many cities do not have the infrastructure of guest hotels, restaurants and transportation upon which any visitor would depend.

None of this seems to have dissuaded Luca Marchio, an Italian tourist whose random visit to the Iraqi city of Falluja was recently chronicled in the New York Times. The Iraqi police discovered Marchio on a public minibus, without a translator or guide, heading for the notoriously dangerous city of Falluja. The police, fearing for the man’s safety, offered Luca a short tour and then shepherded him back towards the “safer” confines of Baghdad.

When asked of his motivation for visiting the country by the Times, Marchio replied, “I want to see and understand the reality because I have never been here before, and I think every country in the world must be seen.”

Although truer words have never been spoken by a traveler, you have to question Marchio’s timing for his visit. The decision to travel to a formerly war-torn nation is a delicate one, a choice dictated as much by the willingness of that country’s citizens to receive visitors as it is by our willingness travel there. Does that make Marchio an outlier? Or is he a symbolic of a coming tourism boom as Iraq returns to relative peace and prosperity? Only the citizens of Iraq can answer this second question – let’s all hope the answer is eventually “yes.”