Thursday, January 18, 2007

Flying NWA while not Muslim

As Lagniappe's keeper notes on his blog, and as Reported by Debbie Schlussel on her blog, NWA just Caved to the 40 Muslims who showed up at the gate 20 minutes before their international flight, offering apologies and compensation as noted in the Detroit News:

Reacting swiftly to allegations of discrimination, Northwest Airlines apologized to 40 local Muslims on Wednesday for barring them from a plane in Germany on their return trip from a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia earlier this month.

The airline said it will reimburse the pilgrims for the additional costs for flights and "reasonable" costs for accommodations.

Lagniappe's Keeper on his blog now recounts my similar tale of woe with a mistimed flight:
Anyone showing up late doesn't board even though the plane is still sitting there, as my friend, keeper of The Shekel blog found out when he was here visiting me a few months ago. I dropped HIM off at Northwest's Dulles terminal half an hour prior to departure of his flight to Toronto and they refused to let him board. I guess that he should have taken a towel out of his suitcase, made a funny hat out of it, and claimed to be a Muslim cleric. Then he would have either been allowed to board (and probably given a seat right next to the cockpit, knowing Northwest) or given financial compensation like these screaming twelfth century throwbacks were.

But my friend wasn't a Muslim so he just had to sit and watch his plane leave without him and wait for the next one, earning no small amount of wrath from his lovely wife (who reads this blog so I'll say no more) when he finally did arrive in Toronto several hours late.
Actually, he got me there 45 minutes before the flight, but they refused to let me board as I was apparently required to be there an hour before at a minimum and would have to go through security screening and they would not accept my 1 piece of checked baggage -- checked of course due to stupid TSA regulations regarding liquids and the presence of a safety razor for shaving (A Gillette Fusion if you must know - it does work).

I offered to run for the gate and have Lagniappe's Keeper come and get the checked luggage and hold on to it for me so I'd only need my carry on. They politely refused, noting I could not leave the bag with them while he turned around and came back to the airport to get it.

So I was well and truly stuck.

However, they were helpful in getting me on the next flight, 4 hours late, so I had 4 hours of time to spend around the airport, which can be fully explored and experienced in far less than 4 hours.

However this change did cause me great stress due to the above mentioned wrath of my wife., who is still really pissed (OK, just a little sore still) that Lagniappe's Keeper had an issue with timing and couldn't get me to the airport on time, and with me for not getting him in gear to get me there. Since I was in Toronto at the time with here and he was in DC, I got the brunt of the royal beat down due to the missed flight - and far more importantly, the missing of the family dinner due to missing the flight. That was not good.

Now did I make a big fuss? No, after all it was Lagniappe Keeper's fault for my getting there late, not Northwest's. After a small amount of pleading to figure out how to get on the flight made it very apparent that I wasn't getting there on time, I politely asked what could be done and they politely got me on a later flight.

if you're late for your flight, you have only yourself (or the person who is supposed to get you there on time) to blame.

Claiming that Northwest Airline is wrong for not allowing 40 people to board 20 minutes before the flight departs, especially 40 people coming back from a religious pilgrimage whose ccoreligionists in their zealotry for that religion have successfully used aircraft as weapons to kill Americans is ridiculous.

If only Northwest had had the fortitude to hold strong in the face of Imam Sayed Hassan al-Qazwini's threat to have Muslims boycott the Airline - that boycott might have been something to promote as a safety feature.

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