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CNN reports that a Muslim family is hustled off a plane after some morons misunderstand their conversation. (For the film version of this incident, check out Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay,–as usual, the most effective comedy carefully apes reality.) Note that the FBI behaves correctly and the airlines officials make asses out of themselves. This fits the recurrent pattern.
A Muslim family removed from an airliner Thursday after passengers became concerned about their conversation say AirTran officials refused to rebook them, even after FBI investigators cleared them of wrongdoing. Atif Irfan said federal authorities removed eight members of his extended family and a friend after passengers heard them discussing the safest place to sit and misconstrued the nature of the conversation.
Irfan, a U.S. citizen and tax attorney, said he was “impressed with the professionalism” of the FBI agents who questioned him, but said he felt mistreated when the airline refused to book the family for a later flight.
An incident to keep in mind next time you’re booking a flight. Remember the name of that airline: AirTran.
The Washington Post reports that AirTran “apologizes” but I searched the text for any hint of a genuine apology. There isn’t one. They do offer the family a refund and a free flight home. The statement issued by AirTran is a masterpiece of official gobbledygook–note that simple words of apology to the family they shamelessly victimized in what looks suspiciously like an act of overt bigotry don’t figure in it anywhere.
“We regret that the issue escalated to the heightened security level it did on New Year’s Day, but we trust everyone understands that the security and the safety of our passengers is paramount and cannot be compromised,” AirTran spokesman Tad Hutcheson said. “Nobody on Flight 175 reached their destination on time… and we regret it.”
What they did had nothing to do with the security and safety of passengers–just the opposite. If you’re used to dealing with airlines, you know they make it a point of principle never to accept the blame for any idiocy they commit. The blame always falls on the weather, vague airport conditions–anything except the airlines. It’s an industry-standard arrogance. But saying that they “regret” that the “issue escalated” is arrogant buffonery even by this low standard. An appropriate atonement might involve placing the entire senior management of AirTran on the Homeland Security Watch List. They might come to view the incident from a different perspective.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”