Friday, September 13, 2013

It pays to be a witness

I’m back in California now. After an over 24 hour travel day, it feels good to…not be traveling.

Normally, my flights go off without a hitch. I board, sit, exit and move on to the next flight without any excitement other than seeing how long I can hold my breath when a “silent but deadly” is released by another passenger, but this time around, there was more excitement than I knew what to do with.

Toward the end of my flight from Japan coming into Vancouver, Canada, a passenger who apparently was rough to deal with (per the flight attendants), happened to have her 2 bags at her feet as we were coming in to land. She was in a bulkhead row, so the flight attendant came over and said they needed to be stowed under another passenger’s seat for landing for safety reasons.

The passenger didn’t want the flight attendant (FA) to move her bags and argued in Japanese not to. The FA kept saying they had to be moved for safety reasons, that she’d move them to the next row in front, and would even personally bring them back upon landing, and proceeded to move both bags.

This is where it went south.

The FA sat in her seat (directly in front of me), strapped herself in for landing, and at the same moment, the passenger, with her baby strapped to her in her baby bjorn, undid her seatbelt, jumped up and walked to her bags, picked them up, and as she walked back to her seat, smacked the FA in the shoulder saying, “I don’t trust you!! I don’t trust you!!” And then went off in Japanese wagging her finger in the FA’s face.

She sat down cursing and mumbling at the FA, buckled up again and within 30 seconds, the plane landed. The FA turned to me, asked if I witnessed everything, I said I did and she immediately called the first attendant to have the police standing by to have the passenger arrested for assault.

They announced for everyone to stay seated, and for over 10 minutes we all sat motionless on the tarmac waiting for the cops to come escort her off. But they were taking too long, and the Captain ended up coming back to escort her, but in the impatience of others, they announced that everyone could get up and leave, though she hadn’t been removed which caused quite the cluster around us.

I’m asked to follow them to the very front of the plane to give my statement, so I did and witnessed the passenger scream and yell and meltdown to the police as she denied ever touching the FA.

They took her baby away from her amid wails and (thankfully) was given to the Grandma who was also there. Ended up having to handcuff her, and escort her unstable wobbly self to the airport police room, all while the crying Grandma profusely apologized to the FA standing by.

I stood around among the flight attendants and police for well over an hour as I relayed what I saw, and wrote 2 separate statements. As I waited to talk with the cop one more time, a representative of Air Canada came up to get my connecting flight information (which thankfully had a 5 1/2 hour layover allowing me to stick around as I did) and said he wanted to see what he could do for me as a thank you.

He returned saying he gave me access to their lounge for me to rest in and I was more than thankful for it after a long 9 hour International flight.

The cop and I struck up a conversation after everyone left, and he ended up escorting me through the entire airport, through Canada customs, bypassing the huge long line, got the Customs Officer to fill out my customs form for me! and processed me through, while everyone else waited.

I felt a little VIP, not gonna lie.

Once I got to the US Customs, their systems were down, leaving the well over 100 people snaked in a massive line with no a/c on, to sit there in fear of missing their flights. Having Global Entry let me bypass everyone and stand in a 10 person line that was given first priority after only 10 minutes of waiting. ((I’m telling you, if you travel Internationally a lot and don’t have Global Entry, you need to look into it ASAP))

I finally made it to the lounge where the moment I gave my name, he smiled and waved in full anticipation of my arrival, showed me to the private shower room, where I showered, changed and felt like a brand new person.

I munched on the food, had Cappuccinos and took advantage of their plush leather chairs as I waited for my flight.
photo (29)

It was nice..ok it was more than nice. It was wonderful. If I could witness more assaults to receive this kind of treatment, I would. kidding! I wasn’t expecting to be compensated in any way, and even denied wanting anything repeatedly when they offered initially.

They’re working on getting her banned from Air Canada completely, the FA plans on filing charges and I’m just thankful it wasn’t worse than what it was.

Have you ever witnessed anything like that on your flights?

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5 comments: said...

No i haven't but i was in the vancouver airport the day robert dziekanski was killed. it was a layover so i did not have to go through customs and did not see anything. I felt creeped out later though when i found out what happened

Popcorn, Pugs & Peonies said...

Wow, that is quite a story! Thankfully, my flights are usually pretty quiet. Glad you got some VIP treatment after.

The Heart Of A Woman said...

Oh my! I'm not even going to lie, I laughed out loud while reading this! I have never witnessed something like this before! How old did the woman appear to be? I wonder what it the world would ever posses someone to do such a thing?!

Natalie said...

You seem to witness a lot of peoples crazy/meltdown moments don't you? Which is perfectly fine with me, because they make good blogging material ;D (lol)

Erin Pasillas said...

This is exactly why I don't fly ;)


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