Friday, December 04, 2009

What Happened on Flight 297

If you were really paying attention, you might have heard about AirTran Flight 297 from Atlanta to Houston, which was delayed on 18 November. According to the "official" version, (reported by Houston's KHOU-TV, Fox News and other outlets), a male passenger refused to end his cell phone call, forcing the crew to return to the gate.

Since then, a far different version of events has emerged. Based on reports from other passengers, that "phone call" looks more like a terrorist dry run. From Red Ink: Texas:

Below is an unedited email that was forwarded to me by people I know and trust. I do not know the original quoted individual but if my friends vouch for him, I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. I will be attempting to verify the story in the meantime...Below is the story that has been forwarded to me originally from a gentleman by the name of Tedd Petruna who is reportedly a diver that works at the Neutral Buoyancy Lab at NASA's JSC:

One week ago, I went to Ohio on business and to see my father. On Tuesday,November the 17th, I returned home. If you read the papers the 18th you may have seen a blurb where a AirTran flight was canceled from Atlanta to Houston due to a man who refused to get off of his cell phone before takeoff. It was on Fox.

This was NOT what happened.

I was in 1st class coming home. 11 Muslim men got on the plane in full attire. 2 sat in 1stclass and the rest peppered themselves throughout the plane all the way to the back. As the plan taxied to the runway the stewardesses gave the safety spiel we are all so familiar with. At that time, one of the men got on his cell and called one of his companions in the back and proceeded to talk on the phone in Arabic very loudly and very aggressively. This took the 1st stewardess out of the picture for she repeatedly told the man that cell phones were not permitted at the time. He ignored her as if she was not there.

The 2nd man who answered the phone did the same and this took out the 2 stewardess. In the back of the plane at this time, 2 younger Muslims, one in the back, isle, and one in front of him, window, began to show footage of a porno they had taped the night before, and were very loud about it. Now….they are only permitted to do this prior to Jihad. If a Muslim man goes into a strip club, he has to view the woman via mirror with his back to her. (don’t ask me….I don’t make the rules, but I’ve studied) The 3rd stewardess informed them that they were not to have electronic devices on at this time. To which one of the men said “shut up infidel dog!” She went to take the camcorder and he began to scream in her face in Arabic. At that exact moment, all 11 of them got up and started to walk the cabin. This is where I had had enough! I got up and started to the back where I heard a voice behind me from another Texan twice my size say “I got your back.” I grabbed the man who had been on the phone by the arm and said “you WILL go sit down or you Will be thrown from this plane!” As I “led” him around me to take his seat, the fellow Texan grabbed him by the back of his neck and his waist and headed out with him. I then grabbed the 2nd man and said, “You WILL do the same!” He protested but adrenaline was flowing now and he was going to go. As I escorted him forward the plane doors open and 3 TSA agents and 4 police officers entered. Me and my new Texan friend were told to cease and desist for they had this under control. I was happy to oblige actually. There was some commotion in the back, but within moments, all 11 were escorted off the plane. They then unloaded their luggage.

We talked about the occurrence and were in disbelief that it had happen, when suddenly, the door open again and on walked all 11!! Stone faced, eyes front and robotic (the only way I can describeit). The stewardess from the back had been in tears and when she saw this, she was having NONE of it! Being that I was up front, I heard and saw the whole ordeal. She told the TSA agent there was NO WAY she was staying on the plane with these men. The agent told her they had searched themand were going to go through their luggage with a fine tooth comb and that they were allowed to proceed to Houston . The captain and co-captain came out and told the agent “we and our crew will not fly this plane!” After a word or two, the entire crew, luggage in tow, left the plane.5 minutes later, the cabin door opened again and a whole new crew walked on.

Again…..this is where I had had enough!!! I got up and asked “What the hell isgoing on!?!?” I was told to take my seat. They were sorry for the delay and I would be home shortly. I said “I’m getting off this plane”. The stewardess sternly told me that she could not allow me toget off. (now I’m mad!) I said “I am a grown man who bought this ticket, who’s time is mine with a family at home and I am going through that door, or I’m going through that door with you under my arm!! But I am going through that door!!” And I heard a voice behind me say “soam I”. Then everyone behind us started to get up and say the same. Within 2 minutes, I was walking off that plane where I was met with more agents who asked me to write a statement. I had 5 hours to kill at this point so why the hell not. Due to the amount of people who got off that flight, it was canceled. I was supposed to be in Houston at 6pm. I got here at 12:30am. Lookup the date. Flight 297 Atlanta to Houston.

If this wasn’t a dry run, I don’t know what one is. They wanted to see how TSA would handle it, how the crew would handle it, and how the passengers would handle it.I’m telling this to you because I want you to know….The threat is real. I saw it with my own eyes….

Now, a second passenger has come forward with a similar account of the flight. But there are a couple of problems with the original version. First, AirTran doesn't have a first class section--they offer business class and coach. You'd think that someone who paid for the ticket on the airline would know the correct term for the section where he was sitting. Additionally, the narrator of the first account describes--in great detail--events that were happening in the back of the airplane, well behind his seat.

Still, it seems rather clear that the "incident" was far more than a passenger who refused to get off his cell phone. And, the FAA, the airline and the MSM have no real interest in telling us what happened on that flight. What a surprise.


Ed Bonderenka said...

There is this also:

jayemarr said...

Another minor point: ever tried to get past somebody standing in the aisle of an airplane?

Now imagine pushing someone around you and towards the front of the aircraft. I'd suggest it can't be done, particularly if they don't want to go.

It's also more or less impossible to pick up a grown man by his collar and his belt, although it happens on TV.

It's quite possible that narrative started off as a description of the events on the plane, but I think it's been embellished either by the author or by some intermediary.

Paul G. said...

It's on Snopes:

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Kevin said...

Hi, I'm a frequent reader but this is my first time commenting. AirTran Airways has conclusively disproved Mr. Petruna's account by establishing that he was not on the plane at the time.

He missed his flight from Ohio to Atlanta, and flight 297 pushed back from the gate 25 minutes before his rescheduled flight to Atlanta landed from Akron.

Since AirTrain is headquartered in Atlanta, a large story appears in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Oddly enough, Mr. Petruna has not responded to requests for comments since this story went big.

Since his version of events has been exposed as a fabrication, a retraction might be in order in the main body of your blog. Thanks for writing! This active-duty servicemember enjoys reading!

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