Friday, January 30, 2009

Ingrates on the Hudson

As far as landings go, it will be hard to ever top the unbelievable performance of one Capt. Sullenberger and his extraordinarily well prepared and professional crew. His quick thinking, years of preparation, and calm under intense pressure inarguably played a major role in the saving of 150+ lives. The fact that he successfully ditched an Airbus A320 in the Hudson River after a dual engine loss caused by the ingestion of a number of geese without a single human fatality (presumably the geese were not quite as lucky) prompted the media to refer to the forced landing as "The Miracle on the Hudson." Now, however, we may start hearing about "Ingrates on the Hudson."

Now, I have never survived a terrifying incident such as the event these passengers lived through. I don't know what kind of adjustment period one must go through after such a traumatic experience. That said, I would hope that I would be grateful to the pilot that saved my life, and to the airline that trained him and his crew. In other words, I hope that I would never behave like this:

Some who were on the plane - brought down by a flock of geese after takeoff from La Guardia Airport on Jan. 15 - said the temporary tease of first-class perks is for the birds.

"I think if you survive a plane crash, being upgraded permanently is a good gesture too," said Fred Berretta, 41, of Charlotte, NC, where the Airbus A320 was headed.

Manhattanite Tess Sosa, who escaped the sinking plane with her husband and two small children, thought the airline was too focused on self-congratulations - and "they want to exonerate themselves as much as they can."

"They are happy they had such amazing results, and they applaud themselves, and then give us a small token?" she said. "That's how I take it."

"A small token?" That's how little Mrs. Sosa values her life? You know, with gratitude like that, I think I agree with her valuation. What exactly does Mrs. Sosa think the airline needs to exonerate itself from? Perhaps she would feel better about things if the airline was paying a few hundred thousand to her estate.

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