Sixteen-Hours of Airplane Hell, Four Pringles and Half-Cup of Water
March 17, 2010
(ChattahBox)—David Martin, the CEO of a social networking site called Kontain, used his company’s iPhone app to full advantage, which makes it easy for users to upload on-the-spot images and video to share with the world, while he was enduring a hellish experience on a diverted airplane. And not only did he share his airline nightmare with the world, he also created loads of free publicity for Kontain, which many people have never heard of, but that’s about to change. Like film director Kevin Smith, who immediately took to Twitter when Southwest Airlines kicked him off an airplane for being too fat, Martin not only tweeted, but he also uploaded video updates of the grueling hours spent trapped on a Virgin America airplane, in which frayed nerves and dwindling food and water supplies, led one flight attendant to snap at a passenger, “You are really getting on my freaking nerves! You need to shut the hell up!’ ” And yes, all of which was gleefully tweeted and Kontained by Martin to great effect, courtesy of the airline’s free Wi-Fi service.
Martin’s ordeal began in Los Angeles at 7:00 a.m. PST on Saturday, when he boarded Virgin America Flight 404 flight to New York for a scheduled landing at 3:30 p.m. But bad weather and high winds made it impossible to land at JFK airport and eventually, the plane was diverted to Stewart Airport, about 90 miles away, and landed there at 5:15. The passengers did not make it to JFK airport, until 3:00 a.m. Sunday (daylight savings time), 16-hours after they first boarded the flight at LAX.
During his ordeal stranded on the Virgin America airline, Martin witnessed passengers begging for food and water. With limited food supplies running out, flight attendants gave passengers exactly four Pringle potato chips each and a half-cup of water.
Martin’s updates set the harried tone of both passengers and crew:
“We are running out of fuel up here at 21,000 feet.”
“One guy said he had a question, and the flight attendant started shouting at this guy, ‘You are really getting on my freaking nerves! You need to shut the hell up!’ ”
“Virgin crew losing control of passengers. Police now on board”
“Tensions rising big time as we are grounded.”
Besides Martin, the passengers, included three fussy babies and Carrie Ann Inaba of “Dancing with the Stars.”
One female passenger experienced a panic attack, during the airline nightmare and was escorted off the plane. She was the lucky one.
The passengers were finally released from their cabin hell, when officials from JetBlue, arranged for buses to transport the passengers to JFK airport. “Ladies and gentleman, we’re here to get you off the plane,” a JetBlue employee said to cheers.
After hearing about all of the bad press, Virgin America’s CEO David Cush called Martin and Inaba to apologize, promising that all passengers would receive a full refund, as well as a $100 credit.
How about the rest of those Pringles too?