Culture At Large

Stuck on a plane: where's the leadership and compassion?

Jerod Clark

A blog post this morning from Phil Cooke, got me thinking a little more about something that happened over the weekend. You may have heard about the Continental Express flight where passengers were stuck in a plane overnight for nine hours.  Much of that time was sitting on the tarmac 50 yards away from a gate. Some of the 47 passengers reported the toilets were backed up, there was no food or drink and there was really no room to stand up in the small commuter jet.

Clearly people were miserable, yet no one made the call to go ahead and bring the plane to the terminal or to get a bus to take the passengers the 86 miles to their final destination. Sure, there are rules that grounded the plane because of weather. And there are rules about what crew members can and can’t do once the plane is on the ground. But Cooke asks, where’s the leadership?

The question that's driving me crazy is, wasn't there a single person in the cockpit or in the airport that would make the decision to let these poor people off the plane? Have we come to a place where people just slavishly obey the rules no matter what?

For me, the bigger question is, where’s the compassion? It’s obvious the crew on that plane could see that people were suffering, yet no one made a move. I’m sure officials on the ground at the airport knew what was happening too, but no one took the time to take these people out of their misery.

Of course there is a lot of blame going around right now and folks are once again calling for a passenger’s bill of rights. But isn’t the real solution common decency in interacting with the people around us? Is it so hard to mesh Cooke’s call for leadership and the Bible’s demand for compassion?

Topics: Culture At Large, Theology & The Church, Faith, News & Politics, Social Trends, North America