I just flew on United Airlines Flight 918 from Dulles to Heathrow. Once we reached cruising altitude, the pilot interrupted the display of airspeed, altitude, and temperature on the backs of the seat in front of passengers. What I expected to be the usual welcome from the Captain turned out to be an incredible insult to his own comrade who is by all accounts a national hero.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, if you are on the left side of the plane, you will see a spectacular view of New York City and US Airways' new runway, the Hudson River."
I don't think so. Neither did the World Airways' flight attendant sitting across the aisle from me. Nor did her colleague. They are members of the Teamsters and flabbergasted at the insult this pilot was giving to Captain Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger and crew, whose superb training was able to turn a complete engine failure into a flawlessly executed emergency landing that yielded no fatalities and relatively few injuries.
It's hardly a story that deserves ridicule. We're not exactly talking about Britney's hours long marriage or Joaquin Phoenix's appearance on Letterman. Let's also not forget that just yesterday, a Congressional panel gave this crew a standing ovation for their work.
What we're talking about is pure grit. The kind of level-headedness that saves lives and becomes an example for others to learn from. We're talking about 'Sully', the man that has inspired Facebook Groups, namesake cocktails, keys to cities, and the admiration of an inspired nation.
Judging from the decent job on take-off and landing, I'm pretty sure the captain of UAL Flight 918 isn't drunk. So, I am compelled to think he's insensitive, tone deaf, and consumed with some kind of unimportant rivalry with US Airways.
So high school....
I also assume that said captain is a member of a union, probably ALPA, the Air Line Pilots Association. Let's not forget that every member of Sully's crew was union and have uniformly credited their union membership for the extensive training they received that provided them with the instinct and knowledge to execute that flawless emergency landing.
The consensus between the folks that around me that reacted to this insult to Sully is that our United Airline Captain doesn't owe an apology only to Captain Sully and his crew, but also to his union and the unions of all airline professionals.
What a jerk. Anybody for a direct line to somebody at United Airlines with a little more intelligence than this guy?