How to Get off a Plane Stuck on the Tarmac

About 400,000 airline passengers a year get stuck on the tarmac for three hours or more. This counts only domestic flights. Congress has been debating a Passenger’s Bill of Rights since before Abraham was circumcised. The airlines have an infinity of reasons against its enactment. The gruesome details can be read here.

As should be clear by now Congress is not good at problem solving. Individual initiative is required. So here’s how to get off of a plane that’s stuck on the tarmac. Fairness requires that this technique only be used after three hours of waiting time and when basic humanitarian needs are not being met, ie the lavatories no longer work, there’s no food or water available, the baby next to you is puking and screaming – you know the complete list of horrors. While this will work 100% of the time be prudent with its use.

Tell the flight attendant that you have chest pain. If you want to gild the symptomatic lily tell her its sub-sternal (below the breast bone) and that it’s radiating down your left arm. You’ll be off the plane faster than you can say “deregulation”. The plane will most likely return to the gate allowing everyone to exit after you’ve been carried off on a stretcher. But there’s the possibility that an ambulance may be sent to the plane allowing only you to leave. Thus it’s best to recruit a few fellow passengers to also complain of crushing chest pain. This epidemic of putative acute coronary disease will ensure that the plane returns to the gate.

Once off the plane (be sure to take you carry on items with you) you can get up from the stretcher and declare that you want no further treatment. The the paramedics cannot force you to go to the hospital. Parenthetically, this method also gets you to the front of the line at any hospital emergency room, but here the consequences may be undesirable.

Travelers of the world complain. You have nothing to lose but your clots.

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5 Responses to How to Get off a Plane Stuck on the Tarmac

  1. felicia says:

    Funny! There’s nothing like the joys of air travel… what’s your cure for sleeping pilots? ;)

  2. Operafilly says:

    I think I was grateful for one delay I remember. We were on a DC10, there was a problem with an exterior door. It was only a few weeks later another DC10 (gosh, it could have been the same one!!) had a door open mid flight causing a disaster.

  3. kate hanni says:

    Unfortunately, even though we’ve been pushing for a meaningful airline passengers bill of rights, this is probably the only sure way to get off of an aircraft.

    However, you will not be able to bring your family. You see the rules for most pilots state that if they let perfectly healthy people off of a plane, their pay will stop, thereby relieving them from their duties.

    In other words you’d better be traveling alone or the remainder of the passengers will likely be allowed off and have to wait for another flight.

    Kate Hanni
    I tried this on our 9 hour on the tarmac and they made it clear only I was getting off of the plane. Not my family.


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