There are plenty of reasons to not get on a plane. Being told that you have to sit at the back to help deal with balance issues is quite certainly not one of them. But that is just what a bunch of British tourists did this past Sunday, refusing to board a Thomas Cook flight from Majorca back home to Newcastle. And they’ve taken their story public, desperately trying to make it seem like the airline is at fault and not them.
Many passengers chose to pay $200 or more each to fly home on different airlines rather than board the plane, all because they were asked to sit at the rear of the plane rather than in the front. The rear baggage compartment door was stuck closed so no baggage could be loaded there. That changed the center of gravity of the plane enough that the airline tried to move seats around. And instead of canceling the flight the carrier actually put the laws of physics into action, reassigning seats to keep the plane safe to fly.
But several of the passengers, apparently well versed in the nuance of aeronautics and flight planning refused to board. They some choice quotes, including:
It was like they were being asked to fly in something that was being balanced out like a see-saw.
We just wanted a plane that would stay level without us being used as ballast.
Here’s a hint folks: EVERY TIME you get on a plane you’re being used as ballast and to balance the
see-saw, err, plane. It is part of the pre-flight checklist and one of the reasons the flight attendants count the passengers on the plane. The pilots are going to make sure that when they pull back on the control stick the plane actually gets airborne. And that means getting the balance right. I cannot count the number of times I’ve moved around for weight and balance reasons; it is just part of the travel experience. Oh, and when the pilot – someone who actually does know how the crazy hunk of metal is able to hurtle through the skies at 500 miles per hour – is willing to get on the plane and go maybe that should be a hint that things are fine. After all, most pilots I know don’t routinely hop on a plane to kill themselves and all their passengers.
And instead the news is about kids crying and people kissing the ground as they deplaned because the didn’t crash. They even got a great photo of a forlorn 17 year old “reunited” with her mother after spending the night sleeping on the floor in the airport. Stay classy, media. You’re doing a great job.
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