Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

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Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby buddy431 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 5:40 pm UTC

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/a-common-airplane-annoyance-leads-to-a-costly-brouhaha-in-the-skies-over-dc/2011/05/31/AGrlMcFH_story.html?hpid=z2

Spoiler:
Before things got out of hand, it was a typical annoyance that happens once a flight gets airborne: A passenger hit the recline button and sent his seat intimately close to the lap of the guy sitting behind him.

What followed wasn’t typical at all: a smack to the head, peacemakers diving about the cabin to intervene and a pair of Air Force F-16 fighter jets scrambling into the night skies over Washington.

It happened late Sunday, just after a United Airlines Boeing 767 bound for Ghana with 144 passengers took off from Dulles International Airport.

Not long after the 10:44 p.m. departure for the overnight flight, the offending seat was lowered into the offended lap, and a fight ensued. A flight attendant and another passenger jumped in between, said sources familiar with the incident who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to provide details.

The pilot has complete authority over the aircraft, a United spokesman said, and he decided to return to Dulles to sort things out rather than continue the transatlantic flight to Ghana when he was unsure of the scope of the problem.

Airline and Homeland Security Department officials said they had no other details on the incident.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, pilots have learned to be wary. In recent years, disturbances have revealed terrorist attempts to ignite explosives hidden in shoes and underwear. Air Force fighter jets stand ready to respond to situations such as this one, in which passengers, who might be terrorists, cause trouble in flight.

A 767 can take off with 16,700 gallons of fuel, and for the more-than-5,000-mile flight to Accra, Ghana, it probably would have needed all of it. The full load of fuel weighs more than 57 tons, and, although a 767 can get that weight airborne, it can’t land with it.

As the plane turned back to Dulles, an air traffic controller directed the United pilot to fly around for about 25 minutes, shadowed by the fighter jets, to burn off an undetermined amount of fuel.

Audio transmissions indicate that the two Air Force fighters scrambled from Andrews Air Force Base at 11:03 p.m, just as the plane reentered Washington airspace.

Five minutes later, the fighter escorts took up position 1,000 feet above the jetliner as it headed toward Dulles, sources said.

At 11:10 p.m., the controller asked about the passenger who slapped his neighbor, and a voice from the cockpit replied: “The passenger is not secured at this time; the passenger has settled down, though, but an assault has taken place, but at this time he is not secured.”

Members of the Dulles police force met the flight at the gate, said Rob Yingling, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. Officers determined that the incident didn’t warrant pressing charges, Yingling said.

It was probably expensive, however.

In addition to the fuel cost — jet fuel averaged $3.03 a gallon last month — the flight was delayed until Monday. Given that no arrests were made, there was no official record of the incident, and the identities of the men involved were not known. It was unclear whether they were on the flight when it left Monday morning or, if so, where they sat, United spokesman Mike Trevino said.

Really? Fighter jets? I'm glad that my tax dollars are protecting me from cranky airline passengers now.
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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby Dauric » Wed Jun 01, 2011 5:53 pm UTC

Well...

This is Washington DC's Dulles airport, a pilot talks about an altercation in the cabin shortly after takeoff and doesn't fill in a lot of details they're not going to wait a long time before scrambling fighters, the passenger aircraft is already in range of a lot of symbolic targets.
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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby Heisenberg » Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:13 pm UTC

It seems a bit counterintuitive to me that a pilot who suspected terrorism turned the plane towards DC.

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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby broken_escalator » Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:16 pm UTC

It sounded like the pilot was covering his ass by returning home. He knew there was a problem, but apparently was unsure of the scope of it.

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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby Enokh » Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:17 pm UTC

It doesn't really look like the pilot suspected terrorism, he just decided it was best to land the plane.

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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby Dauric » Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:19 pm UTC

The pilot may have known the extent of the altercation, but he didn't communicate it to the tower well, since he had to clarify that the individual(s) involved were not restrained as they were landing. The airport and their DHS liason were operating under worst case scenario.
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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby Chen » Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:23 pm UTC

I don't recall airline seats actually being able to recline all that far, at least not in coach. Even then I can't imagine how pissed off people must have been at this one douchebag who couldn't accept a seat being reclined towards him.

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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby The Reaper » Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:42 pm UTC

Chen wrote:I don't recall airline seats actually being able to recline all that far, at least not in coach. Even then I can't imagine how pissed off people must have been at this one douchebag who couldn't accept a seat being reclined towards him.

They recline just far enough to make the person behind them have absolutely no room to do anything other than recline and piss off the person behind them. I blame airlines for their cost-cutting money-grubbing ways.

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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby buddy431 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:53 pm UTC

The Reaper wrote:
Chen wrote:I don't recall airline seats actually being able to recline all that far, at least not in coach. Even then I can't imagine how pissed off people must have been at this one douchebag who couldn't accept a seat being reclined towards him.

They recline just far enough to make the person behind them have absolutely no room to do anything other than recline and piss off the person behind them. I blame airlines for their cost-cutting money-grubbing ways.

You can't blame airlines for trying to cut costs - they're just trying to to compete with lower ticket prices. Everyone complains about how crappy air travel is these days, but we still buy the cheapest ticket available. If people were willing to pay more for better service, they would get better service. And honestly, I think it's worth it. What's a couple hours of being treated like cattle compared to being able to fly anywhere in the world for a couple days' wages?
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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby Decker » Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:05 pm UTC

buddy431 wrote: If people were willing to pay more for better service, they would get better service. And honestly, I think it's worth it. What's a couple hours of being treated like cattle compared to being able to fly anywhere in the world for a couple days' wages?

You must get paid a LOT more than I do.
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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby Lucrece » Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:08 pm UTC

buddy431 wrote:
The Reaper wrote:
Chen wrote:I don't recall airline seats actually being able to recline all that far, at least not in coach. Even then I can't imagine how pissed off people must have been at this one douchebag who couldn't accept a seat being reclined towards him.

They recline just far enough to make the person behind them have absolutely no room to do anything other than recline and piss off the person behind them. I blame airlines for their cost-cutting money-grubbing ways.

You can't blame airlines for trying to cut costs - they're just trying to to compete with lower ticket prices. Everyone complains about how crappy air travel is these days, but we still buy the cheapest ticket available. If people were willing to pay more for better service, they would get better service. And honestly, I think it's worth it. What's a couple hours of being treated like cattle compared to being able to fly anywhere in the world for a couple days' wages?


I can get a ticket to Caracas, Venezuela or Colombia for about the same pricing as domestic flights. Difference being that when I get on Lanchile or Avianca, I get complementary, good food, ample seating space, earphones, and a seat screens with ample selection of channels and on demand movies to go with it. If I grab JetBlue or American Airlines or Spirit, I get the shittiest bare minimum.

Hell, first class seating took a huge dump compared to what it used to be. And you know what? These airlines are still turning out good profit. There's this little cultural difference right now where Americans are willing to shut up and put up with so much shit and scamming by big businesses, whereas companies in other places won't get away with it before their customers riot the living shit out of them.

If customers stopped being so complacent right now, I bet you these airlines would be back to how they were before.

$3/4 for a fucking bag of peanuts for a snack and $11-12 for a crappy, pre-heated plate of awful quality food is plain greed.
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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby Dark567 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:18 pm UTC

buddy431 wrote:You can't blame airlines for trying to cut costs - they're just trying to to compete with lower ticket prices. Everyone complains about how crappy air travel is these days, but we still buy the cheapest ticket available. If people were willing to pay more for better service, they would get better service.
Most airlines will allow you to for that matter. United, as an example has 4 classes of tickets Economy, Economy Plus, business class and first class. Thing is, a vast majority of people would rather pay for the economy seats than the expensive seats. If you don't want to be aggravated by the person in front of you, you can pay for that.

@Lucrece:
Look at their goddamn balance sheets

United Airlines 2011 2010
Net profit margin -2.60% 1.08%
Operating margin 0.41% 4.20%
EBITD margin - 8.85%
Return on average assets -2.13% 0.86%
Return on average equity -46.95% -

American Airlines 2011 2010
Net profit margin -7.88% -2.12%
Operating margin -4.19% 1.39%
EBITD margin - 6.32%
Return on average assets -6.70% -1.86%


Decker wrote:
buddy431 wrote: If people were willing to pay more for better service, they would get better service. And honestly, I think it's worth it. What's a couple hours of being treated like cattle compared to being able to fly anywhere in the world for a couple days' wages?

You must get paid a LOT more than I do.
Huh? Even at minimum wage my oft taken flight from Chicago to NYC is a weeks worth of wages. Ze would only need to make about twice that to put it within the realm of a couple days worth of wages.
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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby Lucrece » Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:22 pm UTC

American Airlines is going down entirely because of poor long-term adjustments (or lack thereof). JetBlue is faring better than them.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... 18710.html

Not nearly the same grim picture of AA or UA, and yet JetBlue is providing pretty much similar service to both. It's as if the entire discussion is set around the idea that these companies are put in a position outside their control to provide substandard service.

It wouldn't be an issue if they just raised the fare to cover expenses. But they've basically overhauled stuff like first class seating for greater pricing and lower accommodations than what people remember them to be. And you're going to have trouble convincing customers that they should settle for less than what they used to get before. It's going to create a PR shitstorm no matter what.

They should've prepared for scenarios in which hiked up fuel costs became a reality. It's part of these preparations that has separated JetBlue staying afloat whereas AA is taking a nosedive.
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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby Cathy » Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:03 pm UTC

Lucrece wrote:I can get a ticket to Caracas, Venezuela or Colombia for about the same pricing as domestic flights. Difference being that when I get on Lanchile or Avianca, I get complementary, good food, ample seating space, earphones, and a seat screens with ample selection of channels and on demand movies to go with it. If I grab JetBlue or American Airlines or Spirit, I get the shittiest bare minimum.


Pretty much this right here. I've been researching costs for my incoming honeymoon, and 9 months out, it costs 600-800 dollars per person to fly from Texas to California. It also costs 600-800 dollars to fly to Puerto Rico and Europe and South America. WTF? The international flights would be hours and hours longer and have much more food and amenities, but the cost is exactly the same as a 3 hours flight across the nation?

On topic: So is there really a safety reason we have to have our tables and chairs in the upright position?
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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby Arancaytar » Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:09 pm UTC

Did the passengers involved look scarily Middle-Eastern? :roll:
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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby Vash » Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:22 pm UTC

This was silly. That the article author tried to justify it is even sillier.

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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby Xeio » Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:32 pm UTC

Cathy wrote:On topic: So is there really a safety reason we have to have our tables and chairs in the upright position?
Presumably things on the table could go flying if the plane hits turbulence when landing/taking off (hence why everything is supposed to be stowed away).

I'm not sure if not-reclining could actually mitigate potential injury in such an event.

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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby buddy431 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:36 pm UTC

Xeio wrote:
Cathy wrote:On topic: So is there really a safety reason we have to have our tables and chairs in the upright position?
Presumably things on the table could go flying if the plane hits turbulence when landing/taking off (hence why everything is supposed to be stowed away).

I'm not sure if not-reclining could actually mitigate potential injury in such an event.


I always figured that it was in case the plane had to be evacuated, people would have an easier time getting out. If something happens in the air, there's no hope of evacuating, so it doesn't matter how hard it is for you to get out of your seat.
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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby Dark567 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:49 pm UTC

Xeio wrote:I'm not sure if not-reclining could actually mitigate potential injury in such an event.

I've seen flight attendants wake people up before landing, I assume non-reclining is to help prevent people from sleeping during take-off/landing.
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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby masher » Thu Jun 02, 2011 12:43 am UTC

Cathy wrote:On topic: So is there really a safety reason we have to have our tables and chairs in the upright position?


As said above, it's so people can get out easily if there is an incident on landing. Also, the reason why you raise the window shades is so the crew can see where the acft is burning if the landing does fuck up

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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby LtNOWIS » Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:27 am UTC

Chen wrote:I don't recall airline seats actually being able to recline all that far, at least not in coach. Even then I can't imagine how pissed off people must have been at this one douchebag who couldn't accept a seat being reclined towards him.

Not only that, but the next flight isn't until Monday. So a lot of people got epically screwed over, much more so than on a flight to a more common destination like Frankfurt or L.A.

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Virgin America's pretentious need to be "cool" is annoying, but their food is quite good IMHO. Plus the whole "Dude you're on a freakin' jet" thing applies.

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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby Triangle_Man » Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:42 am UTC

You guys in the states have the strongest military in the world and this is how it's being used?

In all seriousness, though, it must be a sign of the times where a juvinile fight on an aircraft is treated as a potential terrorist threat.

I guess they could've done better, though?
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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby LtNOWIS » Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:48 am UTC

It's good practice for the pilots and ground crews. It's better that they're ready to go now, than not be ready the next time someone tries to fly a jet into the Pentagon.

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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby Decker » Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:53 am UTC

Triangle_Man wrote:You guys in the states have the strongest military in the world and this is how it's being used?

When we have a bunch of people sitting around with high powered machine guns, it's a bad idea to let them stay bored for long.
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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby Dream » Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:57 am UTC

Decker wrote:
Triangle_Man wrote:You guys in the states have the strongest military in the world and this is how it's being used?

When we have a bunch of people sitting around with high powered machine guns, it's a bad idea to let them stay bored for long.

See, this is why your government needs t oget cooler with pornography.
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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jun 02, 2011 2:08 am UTC

Triangle_Man wrote:You guys in the states have the strongest military in the world and this is how it's being used?
To take precautions in case an altercation on a crowded flight in the DC area turned out to be something much more serious?

Yeah, I'm not terribly bothered by that, actually.

The stupid overreaction happened when the guy in back hit someone for reclining their seat.
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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby Sockmonkey » Thu Jun 02, 2011 4:55 am UTC

Stick a couple of big mean-ass-looking security people on each flight. Ideally off-duty military personell. Pay em' by letting them fly anywhere for free. Lost of them are stationed across the country from their famillies. Being able to pop back home every leave would get plenty of volunteers. Problem solved and we don't have to confiscate everyone's bloody toenail clippers.

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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby Lucrece » Thu Jun 02, 2011 5:15 am UTC

Sockmonkey wrote:Stick a couple of big mean-ass-looking security people on each flight. Ideally off-duty military personell. Pay em' by letting them fly anywhere for free. Lost of them are stationed across the country from their famillies. Being able to pop back home every leave would get plenty of volunteers. Problem solved and we don't have to confiscate everyone's bloody toenail clippers.



Given that terrorists aren't scared by the thought of 50+ passengers turning on them, I doubt mean-looking meatheads would make much of a difference, especially when guns are involved-- which might as well switch in 5 year olds in and it'd be the same outcome, a corpse filled with bullets. Or just the plane blowing to smithereens from the bomb the terrorist may be carrying.

But, hey, nice-looking security could balance out stewardesses and keep everyone on board happy and entertained with the imagery.
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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby Sockmonkey » Thu Jun 02, 2011 5:23 am UTC

Lucrece wrote:Given that terrorists aren't scared by the thought of 50+ passengers turning on them, I doubt mean-looking meatheads would make much of a difference, especially when guns are involved-- which might as well switch in 5 year olds in and it'd be the same outcome, a corpse filled with bullets. Or just the plane blowing to smithereens from the bomb the terrorist may be carrying.

But, hey, nice-looking security could balance out stewardesses and keep everyone on board happy and entertained with the imagery.

The point isn't to spook terrorists. It's to have someone on board who can and will kick the shit out of one. Less invasive security measures can detect guns without an anal probe.

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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby Plasma Man » Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:10 am UTC

Because obviously trrrsts can't be big, well-trained and able to kick the shit out of people, and able to book tickets in a group to ensure they'll have superiority of numbers.
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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby Alexius » Thu Jun 02, 2011 10:06 am UTC

masher wrote:
Cathy wrote:On topic: So is there really a safety reason we have to have our tables and chairs in the upright position?


As said above, it's so people can get out easily if there is an incident on landing. Also, the reason why you raise the window shades is so the crew can see where the acft is burning if the landing does fuck up

No, the window shades are raised so your eyes can become accustomed to the light/darkness outside the plane, so if you have to evacuate you won't be blinded (and thus getting in the way) when you step out the door.

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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby Sockmonkey » Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:21 pm UTC

Plasma Man wrote:Because obviously trrrsts can't be big, well-trained and able to kick the shit out of people, and able to book tickets in a group to ensure they'll have superiority of numbers.

Clearly nobody would notice large groups of middle eastern people all booking seats on the same flight, and it's not like the security guards could be given non-projectile weapons like nightsticks and such.

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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby DaBigCheez » Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:23 pm UTC

Sockmonkey wrote:
Plasma Man wrote:Because obviously trrrsts can't be big, well-trained and able to kick the shit out of people, and able to book tickets in a group to ensure they'll have superiority of numbers.

Clearly nobody would notice large groups of middle eastern people all booking seats on the same flight, and it's not like the security guards could be given non-projectile weapons like nightsticks and such.

Because clearly all trrrsts are middle eastern, and clearly we should station extra air marshals on any flight which contains multiple middle eastern persons, pulling them off other flights in the process. :roll:
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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby marky66 » Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:31 pm UTC

Alexius wrote:No, the window shades are raised so your eyes can become accustomed to the light/darkness outside the plane, so if you have to evacuate you won't be blinded (and thus getting in the way) when you step out the door.

How precisely does one get accustomed to darkness by opening the shade? Does the exterior darkness absorb light that would otherwise brighten the plane interior?

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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby Sockmonkey » Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:39 pm UTC

DaBigCheez wrote:
Sockmonkey wrote:
Plasma Man wrote:Because obviously trrrsts can't be big, well-trained and able to kick the shit out of people, and able to book tickets in a group to ensure they'll have superiority of numbers.

Clearly nobody would notice large groups of middle eastern people all booking seats on the same flight, and it's not like the security guards could be given non-projectile weapons like nightsticks and such.

Because clearly all trrrsts are middle eastern, and clearly we should station extra air marshals on any flight which contains multiple middle eastern persons, pulling them off other flights in the process. :roll:

Better than subjecting them, and everyone else on the flight to having their junk fondled by security at the gate.
No, not all "trrrsts" are middle eastern, but the one we're most worried about that are inspiring absurd security procedures are.
Fact is, no security is going to stop 100% of all terrorists unless everyone is in cuffs for the whole flight.
We need something that will stop most of them, without being horribly oppressive, and be reassuring to the public.
A few off-duty soldiers on every flight would accomplish this. You do realize that none of the crap that's been instituted since 9/11 would have stopped it had it been in place before then?

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DaBigCheez
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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby DaBigCheez » Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:44 pm UTC

Yeah, I realize post-9/11 security measures are ineffective, I'm just having flashbacks to racial profiling arguments in SB (or possibly here, I forget).
existential_elevator wrote:It's like a jigsaw puzzle of Hitler pissing on Mother Theresa. No individual piece is offensive, but together...

If you think hot women have it easy because everyone wants to have sex at them, you're both wrong and also the reason you're wrong.

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Dauric
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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby Dauric » Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:44 pm UTC

Clearly all airlines must be refitted with suspended animation chambers, all passengers will be sedated and kept in medical comas for the entire flight. It even solves problems with airline food and reclining seats.
We're in the traffic-chopper over the XKCD boards where there's been a thread-derailment. A Liquified Godwin spill has evacuated threads in a fourty-post radius of the accident, Lolcats and TVTropes have broken free of their containers. It is believed that the Point has perished.

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DaBigCheez
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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby DaBigCheez » Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:45 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:Clearly all airlines must be refitted with suspended animation chambers, all passengers will be sedated and kept in medical comas for the entire flight.


I would definitely sign up for this service.
existential_elevator wrote:It's like a jigsaw puzzle of Hitler pissing on Mother Theresa. No individual piece is offensive, but together...

If you think hot women have it easy because everyone wants to have sex at them, you're both wrong and also the reason you're wrong.

Chen
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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby Chen » Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:48 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:Clearly all airlines must be refitted with suspended animation chambers, all passengers will be sedated and kept in medical comas for the entire flight. It even solves problems with airline food and reclining seats.


The way things are going the likely implementation of this would be naked and shackled to your seat for the whole flight.

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Dauric
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Re: Man rudely reclines seat, fighter jets scrambled

Postby Dauric » Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:49 pm UTC

Chen wrote:
Dauric wrote:Clearly all airlines must be refitted with suspended animation chambers, all passengers will be sedated and kept in medical comas for the entire flight. It even solves problems with airline food and reclining seats.


The way things are going the likely implementation of this would be naked and shackled to your seat for the whole flight.


Yeah, but you'd be in a coma so the shackles help keep you from falling out of the seat.
We're in the traffic-chopper over the XKCD boards where there's been a thread-derailment. A Liquified Godwin spill has evacuated threads in a fourty-post radius of the accident, Lolcats and TVTropes have broken free of their containers. It is believed that the Point has perished.


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