On Sunday night, an American Airlines flight from Miami to La Guardia, which should have been a quick, routine trip, turned into a 24-hour nightmare for a group of passengers. It began when the plane was left on the ground for over an hour after its scheduled takeoff time (9:45 p.m.) because the flight crew was nowhere to be found. When they finally arrived, the understandably annoyed passengers vocally razzed them.
The crew took offense to this and refused to fly with what they called a "hostile" group. American scrambled to find an alternate crew, but couldn't. The passengers were put up in a hotel for the night and then flown up to La Guardia the next day. Their joy at arrival was mitigated only by the fact that their luggage had landed across town at JFK.
The flight crew hopes this will be a lesson to future passengers: Pipe down and deal with the delays politely. Most Americans will read this as a cautionary tale and take care to wait patiently through agonizing delays. It's not, after all, the fault of a particular crew member or baggage worker if an entire flight is delayed.
To which we say: Screw that. Air travel in this country is an unmitigated nightmare. If you're a real New Yorker, you'll raise hell if you are unfairly or stupidly delayed. When we read the headline on this story in the morning, we immediately knew it must be a flight headed to New York — and we couldn't have been more proud.
Bless you, you poor, poor passengers. We would have been right there with you, giving a Bronx cheer. We'd have even used our BlackBerry through takeoff and left cashew wrappers in the seat pocket in front of us. On purpose.