Last year I flew from Istanbul to Kayseri, Turkey, on an MD-80 and when we landed the passengers got off on two portable stairways, front and rear, boarded a bus and rode to the terminal.
My sister and I got off at the back and she exclaimed “We’re being excreted.” She is a civil engineer specializing in sanitation, so I guess she just thinks that way.
Anyway, it was the easiest and fastest disembarkation from a plane I’ve experienced in a very long time. I would even have a picture of it if my sister had not insisted that I would be arrested if I took a photograph.
Wouldn’t a picture be nice at this point? It would liven up this entry a bit, don’t you think? It would illustrate my point rather well. Feel free to leave a comment here complaining to my sister that there is no photo. She will probably claim she saved me from a Turkish prison and cite some gruesome scene from “Midnight Express.” As if the Turkish authorities would not take an equally severe view of people who claim that Turkish airlines excrete passengers.
To be fair here, I should mention which sister is the culprit, since I have four sisters. It was Maryanne.
Anyway, leaving all that aside, for the moment, and moving on to my point. Which was …
Oh, yes. That it’s not all that hard to get people off planes. Stairways and buses are quite efficient, low-tech ways to do it, yet many U.S. airports have virtually given them up.
They may be a good part of the answer, however, in dealing with cases where passengers are stranded in jets on the tarmac, gates are full and facilities are strained, as Scott McCartney explained recently in the Wall Street Journal’s Middle Seat blog.
He makes a compelling case for common-sense low-tech solutions to tarmac delays, and suggests that airlines and airports won’t have great difficulty implementing them. What they need is a reason to do it, and an air passenger bill of rights will give it to them.
Let’s make that happen.