By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large
As if flying isn’t unsettling enough; an airBaltic scheduled to fly from Norway to Crete on Saturday was delayed for almost five hours when four out of the five crewmembers for the flight were taken into custody by police just before the scheduled departure on “suspicion of alcohol abuse.” The crewmembers detained included two flight attendants, the co-pilot and the pilot. Breathalyzer tests administered by the police revealed that all four crewmembers were above the legal limit.
This may not have occurred on a Delta or American Airlines flight, but the human condition being what it is, it’s another reminder about how vulnerable air passengers are to the stability of the crew charged with transporting them safely through the air. You will recall the crash of Germanwings (parent company Lufthansa) Flight 9525 back in March, wherein it has been theorized that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, previously treated for depression, including suicidal tendencies, deliberately flew the plane into the French Alps after having locked the pilot out of the cockpit.
There’s little one can do once that flight is in the air, but I do my best to get a look at the pilot and co-pilot before takeoff, just to see if I can notice anything concerning. I never have so far, nor am I always able to interact with them the way I want, but I will always do what I can to be sure the odds are, as much as possible, in my favor when that bird takes off.