Sent: Monday, September 17, 2001 4:41 AM
The following is from a letter by a professional friend and her return
flight to D.C. this week.
I just wanted to drop you all a note and let you know that I arrived safe
and sound into Dulles Airport tonight [9/15] at about 6:00. It was an
interesting flight. The airport in Denver was almost spooky, it was so empty
and quiet. No one was in line for the security check point when I got there
so that went fairly quickly, just x-ray of my bags and then a chemical test
to be sure nothing explosive was on them. Then I waited 2 1/2 hours to board
the plane. What happened after we boarded was interesting and thought I would
share it with you. The pilot/captain came on the loudspeaker after the doors
were closed. His speech went like this:
"First I want to thank you for being brave enough to fly today. The doors are
now closed and we have no help from the outside for any problems that might
occur inside this plane. As you could tell when you checked in, the
government has made some changes to increase security in the airports. They
have not, however, made any rules about what happens after those doors close.
Until they do that, we have made our own rules and I want to share them with
you. Once those doors close, we only have each other. The security has taken
care of a threat like guns with all of the increased scanning, etc. Then we
have the supposed bomb. If you have a bomb, there is no need to tell me about
it, or anyone else on this plane; you are already in control. So, for this
flight, there are no bombs that exist on
this plane. Now, the threats that are left are things like plastics, wood,
knives, and other weapons that can be made or things like that which can be
used as weapons.
"Here is our plan and our rules. If someone or several people stand up and
say they are hijacking this plane, I want you all to stand up together.
Then take whatever you have available to you and throw it at them. Throw it
at their faces and heads so they will have to raise their hands to protect
themselves. The very best protection you have against knives are the pillows
and blankets. Whoever is close to these people should then try to get a
blanket over their head - then they won't be able to see. Once that is done,
get them down and keep them there. Do not let them up. I will then land the
plane at the closest place and we
WILL take care of them. After all, there are usually only a few of them and
we are 200+ strong! We will not allow them to take over this plane. I find it
interesting that the US Constitution begins with the words 'We, the
people' - that's who we are, THE people - and we will not be defeated."
With that, the passengers on the plane all began to applaud, people had
tears in their eyes, and we began the trip toward the runway. The flight
attendant then began the safety speech. One of the things she said is that we
are all so busy and live our lives at such a fast pace. She asked that
everyone turn to their neighbours on either side and introduce themselves,
tell each other something about your families and children, show pictures,
whatever. She said "for today, we consider you family. We will treat you as
such and ask that you do the same with us."
Throughout the flight we learned that for the crew, this was their first
flight since Tuesday's tragedies. It was a day that everyone leaned on each
other and together everyone was stronger than any one person alone. It was
quite an experience. You can imagine the feeling when that plane touched down
at Dulles and we heard "welcome to Washington Dulles Airport, where the local
time is 5:40". Again, the cabin was filled with applause.