There are enough people having trouble keeping their calm while flying, but you wouldn’t expect a pilot to lose it. In March, passengers in a JetBlue plane had quite a surprise to see their pilot restrained after ranting about al Qaeda and 9/11. Fliers decided to sue JetBlue after the pilot’s meltdown.
If you’re a nervous flier, even the shortest plane trip seems challenging. The JetBlue pilot meltdown has given nervous passengers a new reason to panic as the man that should have kept it all together for everybody, lost his temper. March’s incident revealed there are pilots with mental issues that might put at risk all the passengers in a plane, without knowing it.
This Friday, the JetBlue pilot that had to be locked out of the cockpit and restrained has to show up and court and prove he is able to stand trial. The 49-year-old had a serious meltdown on March 27, during the flight from New York to Las Vegas, when his plane had to land in Amarillo, Texas. At the airport, FBI agents took him in custody.
Now, several of the fliers that were on that flight decided to sue JetBlue. Attorney Steven Epstein represents some of them. He said: “We know an insane pilot was flying the plane. Now we want to know why”.
Perhaps insane is a bit too much, but that’s an attorney talking in the interest of his clients. The truth is that the events of 9/11 as well as the permanent concern that the crew and the plane could be targeted by such an attack are not making a pilot’s life any easier. However, that does not excuse the company’s decision to have a vulnerable pilot flying a commercial plane.
Kathy Euler, one of the passengers on flight 191, remained seriously traumatized. “You normally walk right past the pilot, go to your seat. I will stop and look at every pilot” said Euler. “When the pilot has to be subdued by passengers, the first thought in your mind is, ‘Is this plane going to crash”.
The plaintiffs hope their lawsuit is going to “change the way things are done, pilots will be checked more, screened more, to make it safer for everybody to fly”.