There was a bit of a scare on a Chataqua Airways flight heading into New York City today. As the co-pilot relayed to air traffic controllers, the pilot went back to use the bathroom, but didn’t come right back. Instead, a passenger with a thick foreign accent knocked on the door and tried to get into the cockpit. The passenger also gave the proper password to get into the cockpit, but the co-pilot refused to admit him, and air traffic controllers declared an emergency, scrambling fighters just in case the worst was happening. Holy Shade Of 9/11, Batman!
Fortunately, a couple of minutes later, the pilot himself got on the radio. It seems that while he was… inspecting the facilities, the latch on the bathroom door and trapped him inside. He got the attention of a good samaritan passenger to relay the message to his co-pilot, but the poor fellow happened to not speak English very clearly. Fortunately, before things got too far out of hand, the pilot managed to break down the door and return to the cockpit.
To me, the takeaway message here is that the passenger — the unknown guy with one of those scary foreign accents — was not a terrorist, but just an average guy who tried to do the right thing. No, strike that — he did do the right thing, and I’m suspecting he’ll get a nice little thank-you from the airline as an apology. At least, he should.
And I’m reminded of why I never, never, ever use airplane bathrooms.