I thought we would be done with this by now. I thought that the federal task force created last December to address the issue of stranded passengers would decide something. They had nearly a year and all they could accomplish in that time was well, nothing. According to a recent news report, the task force found it too difficult to establish any “best practices.”  Here in California in less time than that, we voted to treat chickens like people.

And apparently, no lessons learned over the past year. I thought we would be done with this by now. I thought that the federal task force created last December to address the issue of stranded passengers would decide something. They had nearly a year and all they could accomplish in that time was well, nothing. According to a recent news report, the task force found it too difficult to establish any “best practices.”  Here in California in less time than that, we voted to treat chickens like people. Now that we’ve established a standard of care, a best practice, why not treat people like chickens ? Granted, we are slightly west of Pennsylvania Avenue but with email and cell phones we can share the love. How hard can it be to give airline passengers the same care and affection we can now give chickens?

What task force you might ask? Beats me. A group that gets nothing done in nearly a year other than deciding not to decide isn’t a Task Force, whether it’s federal or just a bunch of junkies hanging out in a squat trying to decide whether or not to tie their shoes. Kate Hanni  did her best I’m sure since she represented stranded passengers and was herself  stranded.

Oh, and I just hate it when grown ups whine. The general manager of Atlanta’s airport said,” This problem is so complex that one size doesn’t fit all.” Complex? Complex is the Large Hadron Collider. Complex is open heart surgery done with robots. Complex is picking apart human DNA looking for that needle in the haystack that causes a specific disease. But providing food, water and toilets for prisoners is something we’ve been doing forever.

We all remember what happened, right? A whole plane full of people were incarcerated for so long that they ran out of food, water, medications, diapers, and with toilets overflowing – within sight and walking distance of an airport terminal. I don’t understand why more people don’t see this kind of behavior, this cruelty, as scary. The idea that people can be held hostage by a corporation is inconceivable to me. If some nut case took you hostage in the town where you live it would be considered a crime and the police would show up. If you’re on an airplane, you can’t even free yourself without risking jail because apparently you don’t have any constitutional protections whether your tray table is up or down.

Now the Germans, they  called the police from the plane. Six German airline passengers called the police and said they were being held against their will on an aircraft. They had been stuck on the runway for seven hours during a snowstorm on a flight from Berlin to London, a very short flight I might add. The police boarded the plane and let everyone with carry-on luggage escape. Some of the escapees filed “false imprisonment” charges. Now that’s good judgment. Fly smart, go with Germans.

The strange thing is, pilots can get off the plane. In fact they have to once they’ve reached their union negotiated, federally regulated time in the cockpit. Pilots can open the door and walk down the stairs.  The Jet Blue incident if you’ll recall involved a snowstorm.  Anybody been in a snowstorm? Ever? I’m not a big person but I know for certain that I could get down the stairs and slog through the snow to the terminal carrying two babies or one old lady. I lived in Minnesota. I can do snow. When did snow become such a danger? If our ancestors had been paralyzed with fear over snow this country would still be populated mainly by squirrels.

I realize there’s a rule that passengers must obey the captain or risk going to jail, but what if your captain is an idiot? If the captain told us to take off all of our clothes and sit there naked, would we do it? Of course not. Well  ok, I know a few people who would and then thoroughly enjoy themselves. But the point is that among those people trapped on the plane there were gallons of good judgment, enough to make a decision to flee. Everyone could see that they were within sight and walking distance of a clean, less hostile environment. Isn’t that the “Aha” moment when they exercise their good judgment and go there?

Science has made it possible to see a storm coming from great distances. Unlike our ancestors who had to read the sky and the clouds, sniff the wind like the witch in “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” we moderns know the storm is coming, where it’s coming from, how big and fast it is, and where it’s likely to go. We even give some storms names. So who is the Dufus who loads planes with delicate organic flesh, humans who have real psychological, emotional and physical needs, knowing full well they’re going nowhere? Can someone get me a meeting with this Dufus, and perhaps his or her job as well?

In any case, if that had been my task force I would have locked the doors and there wouldn’t have been any food, water, or clean toilets until decisions were made. Of course, I’d be arrested since it’s illegal to do that, except in the presence of a tray table. Is that in the Consitution somewhere? The tray table thing?