Flights from New York to Florida happen every single day, several times a day. Florida is a mecca for New Yorkers who are desperate to escape the frigid winters, so when I boarded a flight headed to Fort Lauderdale from New York’s LaGuardia Airport I expected nothing much to happen. I had been down and back before with almost no issue what so ever. Perhaps a bit of turbulence, perhaps a minor delay, but a screaming incoherent passenger and air security was the last thing I thought I would encounter.
I made it through security with ease and loaded my carry on into the overhead compartment quickly. I settled in next to my traveling buddy for the flight with a magazine and visions of sun-soaked beaches in my head, that was until all hell broke lose a few rows away from us. I was just about to pull out my iPod to make some pod casts selection when yelling began.
We were getting ready to taxi onto the runway when an argument erupted between two passengers. The argument was almost entirely one sided as a woman in her mid-30’s screamed at the top of her lungs about her seat, the person sitting next to her, the flight and the flight attendants. Everyone was staring as the attendants tried to assess and deal with the situation. There appeared to be no calming this woman down. To top it all off there was no way to tell exactly what her problem was all about.
The attendants tried, in vein, to inform the unruly passenger that she would be removed if she didn’t settle down. The screaming turned into shrieking and before long the passenger cabin was flooded with security. The screaming passenger managed to suddenly catch a case of “cat got your tongue” when security boarded, but it was too little too late. She was removed from the aircraft and after a short chat with the attendants and those seated around the babbling woman off we went to Florida.
The rest of the flight progressed without incident, probably because of the spectacle we all had to endure. Our flight was about an hour late arriving in Florida, but it was a small price to pay for the security that I saw in action. Yes, dealing with the passenger was a nightmare and having to delay plans was far from ideal, but the quick reaction and removal proved that airport security has stepped up significantly since the events of September 11Th.
I had a great week in Florida and headed home with the same airline to and from the same airports without a problem. I did spend a good amount of the flight down thinking about what happened to that woman and what the issue was, but never bothered to ask. When I got on the flight to head back to New York I looked around. With No mid-30’s shrieker in sight we took off and landed in New York without incident.