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Just A Little Batty

Just A Little Batty

I am not making this up.

Associated Press is reporting a bat—Chiroptera, not Louisville Slugger—on a Delta Connection jet out of Wisconsin bound for Atlanta. After a couple of cabin laps at 30,000 feet, the plane turned around and sought shelter in Wisconsin once again.

Passengers cornered the bat in the lavatory, but when authorities entered the abandoned aircraft, they found nothing. However, witnesses testified that a bat (presumably the same one, but who’s to know) flew….wait for it….down the jetway and then through the terminal!

I’m assuming it was looking for a better connection to Atlanta.

On top of that, if there is a top to that, health officials want to talk to all 30 or so passengers to ensure there was no danger of rabies infection, but Delta could only identify the five passengers who reboarded, since the others were shifted to different airlines. With all of our security and identification measures in place, Delta could not tell United States health authorities who was on their plane once they had left it!

Did I tell you I am not making this up?

I remember going through security in Atlanta once, where an extremely obnoxious and unpleasant TSA woman, wearing latex gloves and a large breathing mask, made demands in heavily accented English about where to put my ID and my boarding pass. It was humiliating to have to be ordered around by her, followed, of course, by removing my shoes and belt, and suffering through the detestable “you’re a criminal until proved innocent” frisking.

Yet with all this security, heavy weapons, dogs smarter than most college freshmen, automated warnings, hardware, and admonitions to be on the watch for anything out of the ordinary, a nocturnal creature with bizarre aerodynamics entered an airport, boarded a plane, hid during takeoff, flew around at altitude, eluded capture, hid again, disembarked, and escaped through the airport. (In case you’re wondering, a cell phone video scrupulously studied by authorities confirms it was a bat, not a nuthatch or a seagull, although that would hardly be less alarming.)

If you can’t keep a bat out of a plane, and can’t find it once it forces the plane to land, and can’t identify the passengers who fled, then tell me again about why I need to take out my lap top and carry only three ounces of any one liquid?

I’m looking forward to my next trip. Perhaps I’ll have an alligator or an eagle sitting next to me and I’ll finally get some prompt service from the flight attendants.

© Alan Weiss 2011. All rights reserved.

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

Comments: 6

  • Dave Gardner

    August 13, 2011

    Alan…in the past month or so, a passenger on an Alaska Airlines flight to Alaska was bitten by a scorpion. The plane had stopped in Austin earlier in the day. “It’s so hot in Texas even the scorpions are migrating to Alaksa.” Maybe not.

  • Alan Weiss

    August 13, 2011

    As an Anthropoda Scorpiones expert, I’d like you to be aware that scorpions don’t bite but administer a sting using their tails, which can be lethal in some circumstances, depending on the airline.

  • Simma

    August 14, 2011

    I’m trying to figure out how the bat got past the TSA without a boarding pass

  • Guido Thys

    August 14, 2011

    Alan, you mention the episode with the TSA woman. You write that it happened to you once. I am glad that this behaviour upsets americans as well.
    Non-US citizens -even from European countries that have a visa waiver and national passports adapted to specific requests from USHC and whose personal profile is sent to the TSA even before their plane leaves the European airport- are subjected to this kind of treatment every single time they enter the US.
    I once spent 3 hours in a queu while constantly nozzled by dogs that also put their noses into the faces of little kids and scared the hell out of them, all of this while being observed by heavily armed police patrolling on a gallery above us.
    That evening I was invited to a pre-conference dinner at the event where I was the keynote speaker. I told my table-mates about this incident and added that a similar situation only happened to me twice before, viz. in East-Berlin and in Havanna and never ever at the thousands of other border controls I have gone through elsewhere in the world. The organisers nearly cancelled my keynote because they considered my remark to be hostile to the country I was a guest in.
    So far for freedom, so far for the freedom of speech.
    We’ve lost too many family members during WW II to cope with situations envolving dogs and machine guns. I haven’t been to the US since and I am enjoying visits to a host of countries that that prove that internationals threats can be dealt with while still respecting the dignity of individuals.

  • Alan Weiss

    August 14, 2011

    Unfortunately, I’ve heard quite a few stories such as your. Many people come and go without incident, but some have these horrible experiences. It’s what happens when you allow fear to drive your behavior, as a nation. Some TSA employees are very professional and helpful. Others simply see that TSA as a huge employment agency. When I told a TSA supervisor at LAX that the lines were being ridiculously delayed by the way they were organized, he made a face in front of his subordinates to indicate, “Why would we listen to him??”

    Marshall McLuhan: “The price of eternal vigilance is indifference.”

  • Tim Wilson

    August 15, 2011

    Hmm, a bat and a scorpion on a plane, sounds like a low budget remake of that awful Samuel L. Jackson movie snakes on a plane.

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