Flying over Philadelphia on jetBlue
I even survived my first time as a jetBlue passenger. I'm writing this as the day I left Dulles Airport was the same day a pilot on a different jetBlue flight went crazy and had to be restrained by the crew.
Of course, there was an incident a couple of years ago, where a jetBlue flight attendant got irritated at passengers, grabbed a couple of brewskis and took off out the back door by depolying the emergency chute.
An American Airlines flight attendant went crazy just a couple of weeks ago also, so it really isn't a question of which airline it is.
But it made me wonder. Do we now have to become concerned about some of those who are on the flight crew. When that cockpit door closes, and the cabin door closes, I, like everyone else, want to rest assured that we're in capable hands.
Could it be that people who are on certain medications may be incapable of holding these kinds of jobs? I know there has been concern about anti-depressants and similar types of medications that cause erratic behavior. I've had my concerns too. Granted, there are those who are truly mentally ill, and need medication. But I wonder sometimes, especially knowing many who have had substance abuse problems, that some in psychiatry may push drugs instead of helping patients seeks solutions to their problems.
Nevertheless, my first time flying jetBlue wasn't any worse or better than any other airline. They got me from Point A to Point B safe, in one piece, and earlier than scheduled I might add. I had a choice of XM radio and Direct TV, but chose the downloaded music on my iPhone for the most part.
And I had a snack (that I didn't have to pay for), as well as no baggage fees.
No, I was not paid by jetBlue to promote their airline. I have to admit I've been pretty biased as far as airline experiences. Continental, I've been most familiar with, since my Dad was a longtime employee, even of the airline that bought them in the 1980s (Texas International Airlines, aka "Texas Air Corp"). Southwest has always been a good no-frills airline, I flew them many times in Texas and in California. United got better after one bad experience in the 1990s, and, of course, just merged with Continental.
I'd say the worst airline experience I had was with now defunct America West. I used them for my first visit to the San Francisco Bay Area from Austin, TX in the mid-1990s. When I arrived at the old Robert Mueller International Airport in Austin for my flight, it had been cancelled and the ticket counter was almost empty. There was a notation to visit the Continental desk, so my flight was transferred to a Continental flight (first time I flew a 757). I did fly America West back from SFO to Austin and the plane left a lot to be desired. A 737 that looked like it was last updated in 1974. The landing and descent into Austin was one of the worst I've been on. We'd go down, then hit a patch a turbulence, and the pilot would pull up slightly, then try again. A few years later, America West had a couple of pilots arrested for being drunk. Who knows, the pilot of my flight might have been one of them. He flew like a drunk! And this was a couple of months before the tragic ValuJet crash in Florida (which is now AirTran). America West always seemed like the ValuJet airline that never crashed, though you wondered how their planes flew.
Boston waterfront at night
So, what do you think? Should we screen airline crews for emotional problems? What are some of your airline horror stories?
UPDATE: Check out Eric's comment in the comments section, who provided some great insight into this topic as a pilot.