New York

Man Faces Year in Jail for Opening (Grounded) Plane Door


At a time when most of us are afraid to say “bomb,” or even “Bombay” or “La Bamba,” within 15 yards of an airport, we must take our hat off to Robert McDonald of Crescent, England, who opened the emergency door of his Delta flight last night because he felt like getting out. We know how it sounds, but the plane was on the tarmac at Kennedy, not moving, and we see nothing in McDonald’s behavior to indicate he would pull the same stunt mid-flight. Queens district attorney Richard A. Brown believes McDonald was planning to “fully open the door” — apparently he had some trouble rolling it all the way back on his own — “and deploy the emergency chute.” This disrupted the flight’s plans, which is unfortunate (though the flight, destined for Vegas, had already been delayed by weather), but the possible punishment — up to a year in prison for second-degree reckless endangerment and second-degree criminal tampering — seems excessive. We advise McDonald to plead temporary insanity brought on by the prisoner-of-war conditions airline passengers are forced to endure. Make a test case of it, and then maybe our in-flight warders will be motivated to imbue their passengers with bonhomie and camaraderie rather than the sort of steadily escalating tension that leads to such incidents. Photo (cc) Irishflyguy.


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