Most people know that when they’re on a flight, especially in our post-9/11 world, they should be on their best behavior. However, not everyone appears to have understood the message.
On Thursday, as American Airlines Flight 1033 from Dallas/Fort Worth to Charlotte was on final approach into Charlotte Douglas International Airport, a passenger decided to attack three crew members and rush the cockpit.
The passenger, 36-year-old Charlene Sarieann Harriott, was seated in the rear of the plane throughout the flight from Texas to North Carolina, and by all accounts, it was a reasonably pleasant flight.
The three seated stewardesses yelled at her to stop, and then gave chase, catching Charlene as the plane was preparing to land.
They managed to restrain her in the first-class section of the jet as it was touching down, using zip-ties and duct-tape.
According to crew and witnesses, Harriott became more aggressive and violent when she was restrained.
She bit one of the flight attendants in the struggle, puncturing the skin and causing her to bleed. She hit a second flight attendant in the forearm during the struggle. Harriott punched and kicked the third flight attendant in leg and abdomen.
All three flight attendants received treatment at American Airlines’ on-site medical clinic and were released.
Charlene was arrested and charged by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with three separate charges of assault and battery.
She was taken to Mecklenburg County Jail and was scheduled to speak before a federal magistrate yesterday, on Thursday, February 1.
The arrest warrant remains sealed but is not hard to understand what she did to get sent to jail and to earn the charges.
The real question and one that has not been answered as of yet is what caused Charlene to attempt to rush the cockpit?
Since 9/11, cockpit doors on most commercial passenger jets have been changed and reinforced to ensure that people like Charlene cannot get into the cockpit.
In other words, even if Charlene had made it up front to the cockpit, there’s not much that she could have done other than pound on the door impotently.
Takeoff and landing are generally accepted to be the most dangerous parts of a flight, and if she could have gotten into the cockpit, especially while the plane was on final approach, Charlene could have done very serious damage.
Most likely, she would have caused the plane to crash if she had gotten into the cockpit.
This is not the first time someone was restrained on a flight coming into Charlotte Douglas International airport, however.
On July 21st, 2017, during a flight from Lexington, Kentucky to Charlotte, North Carolina, Michael Kerr of Lexington drank three whiskeys.
Somehow, this was all it took to inebriate Mr. Kerr, who decided to shove the other passengers in an attempt to get off the plane first when the flight arrived at the gate.
Kerr decided that it was a good idea to threaten, shove, kick, and spit at various flight attendants on the flight, and eventually, he was hauled off the plane by pilots and police officers.
Acting strangely on planes is not a good idea as a general rule. More than a decade and a half after planes were flown into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, people are still touchy about the subject.
Many people who attempt to act out on flights are now subdued by passengers nearest to them, mainly out of fear that they may be involved in some sort of Islamofascist terrorist plot.
In some instances, they were, in fact, terrorists of some sort, such as the shoe and underwear bombers, but more often than not the people are just obnoxious, rude, or inebriated people acting out.
It will be interesting to see what cased Charlene Harriott to think it was a good idea to attack the cockpit when the plane was about to land.
No doubt her actions terrified the passengers on the flight and gave the pilots quite a scare when they most needed to be able to concentrate. However, we can all be thankful that the flight landed safely.