Thursday, April 08, 2010


Yesterday, a sandal clad Qatari diplomat on a United Airlines flight from Washington to Denver made several trips to the shitter in the airliner’s first-class section, apparently to sneak some smokes. About an hour out of Denver he went again and, after occupying the shitter for about 15 minutes, emerged along with a whiff of smoke.

When questioned by flight attendants, shoe bomber Richard Reid must have come to mind because he joked about trying to light his shoes. That set off a terrorist bomb scare. Two air marshals aboard the flight placed the diplomat from Qatar in handcuffs and two F16 fighter jets were scrambled to escort the flight to Denver. After the airliner landed, it was boarded by an army of law enforcement officials with bomb sniffing dogs. The FBI questioned each of the flight’s 157 passengers and six crew members. The Qatari nicotine addict was questioned for several hours before it was determined there had been no bomb threat.

This whole hullabaloo could have been avoided had United Airlines simply followed British carrier Ryanair’s lead in charging the equivalent of $1.40 for each trip to the shtter.

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