Attempted hijack on Dallas to Houston flight?
September 11, 2002 6:41 PM   Subscribe

Attempted hijack on Dallas to Houston flight? RTE in Ireland is reporting an American Airlines jet bound for Dallas, Texas returned to Houston Airport shortly after takeoff because of what an airlines spokesman called 'a security incident' on board...just a precaution or was something serious going on?
posted by tomcosgrave (23 comments total)

"...just a precaution or was something serious going on?"

kinda pointless to ask that here, unless someone's mefi'ing from that plane. why not wait till some actual facts come in, then leave it to cnn to report? hardly fpp worthy...

(on preview: hey, look, facts from cnn. EOT)
posted by bizwank at 6:54 PM on September 11, 2002

I live in a loft apartment in the center of down town Dallas.
I'm not sure what happened but the police and other security folks are swarming here.
By the way, hello everyone.
posted by Ravarion at 6:54 PM on September 11, 2002

There have been several incidents. In another one, between one and three men men locked themselves in the airplane bathroom and were reported to be shaving off their body hair.

Obviously they were either cyclists or necromancers.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 6:58 PM on September 11, 2002

or killer apes on holiday
posted by clavdivs at 7:00 PM on September 11, 2002

Remember when being hijacked to Cuba didn't sound so quaint (oh. this is Metafilter. Hardly any of you were born back then...).
posted by ParisParamus at 7:05 PM on September 11, 2002

or killer apes on holiday
Reminds me of a creepy clive barker story. The story, about a shaved ape, was probably the most disturbing thing I have ever read.
posted by phatboy at 7:07 PM on September 11, 2002

A folding comb mistaken for a knife generated a scare...

Sign number 72 of the coming apocalypse...

George Bush Intercontinental Airport...

...and here's sign number 113. Folks, be sure not to spill the blood of innocent Canadians on American soil, or we're really in the crapper.
posted by UKnowForKids at 7:11 PM on September 11, 2002

The local news channel ( reported that it was 2 passengers which caused the incident. One passenger was carring a folding comb that resembled a knife and the other changed seats and refused to move back to his assigned seat when asked to do so. the FBI says no charges are being filed at this time.
Better safe than sorry yes? This was an American Airlines flight after all. On 9/11 even.
posted by Ravarion at 7:18 PM on September 11, 2002

Just read the CNN story, and I'm curious: can ANY member of the flight crew decide there's an emergency situation taking place and order the plane to make an emergency landing?

The way I read it, the flight attendant alerted the air marshal but didn't wait for him to investigate before telling the pilot to make an emergency landing.

Not saying she did the wrong thing, but are there any procedures in place to determine whether or not an incident is a credible threat? Kinda embarassing to see a folding comb cause something like that...
posted by Blaze_01 at 7:42 PM on September 11, 2002

You just gotta wonder. How many close calls are there that we don't hear about? Both real and imagined.

Hey Ravarion. I probably drive by your loft apartment every day and haven't a clue. I live in south Dallas and work in the arts district.

The cops were freaky today, driving through Dallas. I took a detour and stopped at SBC's tower for the Rolling Requiem, then went on my way to work, so I saw a lot more of downtown today than I usually do. There were cops on practically every street corner. Usually finding a cop car is kinda like that Where's Waldo book. I'd feel good about such a cop presence normally, but I still have to get my car inspected so I was just waiting for one of them to pull me over. Fortunately, that wasn't what they were lookin' for today.

I remember this morning when I stopped briefly to smoke a cigarette, waiting for the Requiem. I was outside. I looked up at the tower, and the other tall buildings in downtown. Not a single helicopter or airplane. I wondered what would happen if this is the time. If it's gonna happen here. What would I do? Then I remember, this is Dallas. If the terrorists bother to take out a building in Dallas they're really stupid.

Creepy. Nothing in the air. Like it was last year. Even the pigeons were on the ground, looking for scraps. Then driving home I didn't see anything in the sky. Finally as I got out of my car, I looked up and in the sunset sky there was one single commercial jet flying solo. Felt kinda good, seein' that up there.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:52 PM on September 11, 2002

ravarion - i live in a loft right next to the federal building in downtown dallas. there have been police and security swarming here for the past week, especially at the corner of griffin and main. i don't know what's going on though.
posted by centrs at 8:04 PM on September 11, 2002

My guess is it was a combination of circumstances that made the decision "credible".
I can assure you if any member of the flight crew decided it was time to land the plane, regardless of the reason, I wouldn't complain if I was on board. Would you?

So many people today heard the words "Lets Roll" Those people new it was time to take action at any cost. Even their own lives.

Bush Jr. has been saying that for a year and the rest of the world is calling that same old "foul". Oh don't do it USA. Don't kick the crap out of the rest of the world. You're freedom is evil. You're overreacting.

Ha! The world is about to get a serious wake up call. It happened before. It's about to happen again.
posted by Ravarion at 8:09 PM on September 11, 2002

AHH!! new = knew. /giggle. Sorry for the dramatics. I'm just too damn old to change now. Hello fellow Dallas folks. Yeah, it was creepy today here in Texas. I noticed the pigeons too. I'm at Elm and St. Paul ( The Gold Bar building)
Let's catch a drink at the local free pizza happy hour soon people. If ya wanna. ;)
posted by Ravarion at 8:18 PM on September 11, 2002

Blaze: Generally, the captain of a flight has ultimate authority over the airplane, regardless. There's hardly any surprise that he took his plane down pronto when told of an air marshal incident, especially today.

I've noticed since 9/11 that certain things have made local safety folk jumpy. For almost a month after the attacks the fire department seemed to treat every fire as a "+1 alarm" fire. (I live near a firehouse, and hear the sirens all the time.) Tonight, driving home past a closed gas station, a little rustmobile was being pulled over by about four police prowlers. In these suburbs, every police call gets pretty immediate automatic backup, but 4? Whew. Surely, though, today was a no vacations or sick time day. Bottom line? There's no penalty for overreacting in this fashion.
posted by dhartung at 9:59 PM on September 11, 2002

Like I said in my original post, I'm *not* saying the flight attendant did anything wrong. If I were on that plane, I'd rather be safe than sorry. My mom is a flight attendant, so you can bet I'd want her to be alerting the captain if she were in that situation.

Dhartung, thank you for not ridiculing my question with your response. What I'm curious about is the level of communication between the various members of the flight crew. I would imagine the captain knew air marshals were onboard his flight -- would he be able to talk with them in case of a potential emergency? Or are they just staying behind the closed cockpit door and leaving the flight attendants (and air marshals, if they're onboard) to fend for themselves?

From what I got from the story, the guy with the comb didn't freak out or shout obscenities. I haven't seen a picture of the comb, so it could look like a switchblade or something; I don't know. If someone is acting sneaky or in a threatening manner, then by all means LAND THE PLANE. But do I need to be worried that something I may say or do (and I mean reaching into my carry-on or pulling out a comb, for example) could cause the plane to divert and end up with me in handcuffs with some federal agents on the tarmac while all the other pissed off passengers evacuate?

Again, I'm not saying the wrong thing was done here. I'm wondering how much communication is involved and if there are any set guidelines that have been developed in the past year as a result of the attacks.

I haven't flown since December of last year and don't plan on it anytime soon, especially if I have to pay money just to sit in a cramped seat and watch what I do and say in fear of being arrested. Seeing all those public safety people so jumpy makes me nervous too.
posted by Blaze_01 at 3:10 AM on September 12, 2002

Ha! The world is about to get a serious wake up call. It happened before. It's about to happen again.

Please tell me that you are not laughing about the possibility of yet another American nuclear bomb dropped on human beings on this planet.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 3:49 AM on September 12, 2002

Ravarion - I'm a bit confused here. What's going to happen again that you are sooooooo looking forward to?? Is it some kind of nuclear strike, or something?? That'll make for days of fun TV viewing, right enough (as long as it happens to someone else, somewhere else, presumably). Anyhoo, I assume you are just yanking our chains.......cheers!!!
posted by Doozer at 4:39 AM on September 12, 2002

"We do know the device in question was a comb," Rader said. "You know, one of those folding combs you comb your hair with."

News reporting at its finest.
posted by mikrophon at 6:26 AM on September 12, 2002

Please tell me that you are not laughing about the possibility of yet another American nuclear bomb dropped on human beings on this planet.

the war ended in 1-9-4-5 foldy. (pats idiot foldy on the head)
posted by clavdivs at 6:32 AM on September 12, 2002

Hmmm, I think I saw one of those combs the other day. It looks like a switchblade but when you press the button...out pops a comb (a comb you comb your hair with as opposed to the other kind of comb.)

because of what an airlines spokesman called 'a security incident' on board.

These days "a security incident" could include a passanger asking if the pilot had passed a breathalyser test.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:59 AM on September 12, 2002

Foldy, if you're hearing sirens, don't worry, that's just the Clue Police.
posted by dhoyt at 9:19 AM on September 12, 2002

Blaze: My understanding from the media is that the captain of a flight does not know in advance that air marshals will be on his flight, but he is informed before departure.

Questions of communication between flight crews and air marshals ARE a topic of conversation, presumably at high levels as well. At the moment, nothing has really been done; they are not seen as part of the crew. And the flight crew/cabin crew communication issue seems to depend on the airline, on scheduling, and that sort of thing; it's likely that certain long-haul flights with regular assignments work very well together, while other airlines with different contracts and such might have poorer cooperation, just like any job where you might not get along wit co-workers. As closely as I have followed this situation, I don't think there are any such communications guidelines nor would I expect them, because every airline is different. In past air-rage incidents, flight crew have often become involved in subduing passengers, but that is now, post-9/11, considered a risky approach. If a weapon is allegedly involved, the flight crew would probably lock the doors and find tarmac. Personally, I think the lack of set procedures might be a good thing; it doesn't give someone a standard reaction to plan around.
posted by dhartung at 1:58 PM on September 12, 2002

« Older Take Five - you won't be disappointed   |   Are you being watched at work on the Web? And how... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments