Sunday, December 25, 2005

Who can I blame in the Southwest crash?

So far, three passengers are suing Southwest Airlines and the city over the Dec. 8 flight that overshot the runway at Midway Airport. The suits are all pretty much the same, contending Southwest was negligent in failing to properly assess the runway conditions and failing to divert to another airport, and alleging the city was negligent in running the airport.

These passengers say they suffered physical injuries as well as fear and emotional distress as a result.

I think it's time I found myself a good lawyer. Being someone who has always wanted to experience a thrilling but non-fatal plane crash, I am filled with jealousy. These passengers have a once-in-a-billion story, and they want money? Fifty years from now, I just know I'll be at some nursing home bingo event, with nothing to talk about, and the guy next to me will be wowing all the ladies: "Remember that time the plane skidded off the runway at Midway and had a traffic accident? Yup, I was on that plane." I am also distressed that the airlines will take corrective measures and never again attempt a landing on a short runway during a snowstorm, which means I'll never experience the thrill of crashing through a barrier and onto a city street. Honestly, every time I'm on a flight, I hope something exciting happens, that I get a good story in addition to the packet of pretzels. Let's face it, like most flights, life is pretty darned boring. You take off full of hopes and ambition, but when you finally arrive at your destination nothing really has changed.

Here's my best plane story so far: In Poland a couple of years back, I was on a short flight from Warsaw to Katowice. After a lengthy delay at the airport, we finally took off. Ten minutes later, the pilot announced that due to some problem, we'd be returning to Warsaw. Two hours later, we took off again and made it to Katowice without incident. It was a twenty-minute flight.

See? It's got a little irony, but my story doesn't measure up. That guy in the nursing home will bag all the babes with his story and I'll go bed with a bag of pretzels. This is why I've decided that if those passengers win anything, I'm suing them for past and future jealousy and because I have already suffered so much emotional distress.

By the way, how bad does it suck to be Southwest right now? This is the first time the airline has had a fatal crash, and the only person to die wasn't even a paying customer. And, yeah, it sucks for the family of the six-year-old victim, who becomes another statistic that proves driving is more dangerous than flying.

And finally, if you believe in God and fate and all that, this situation had karma written all over it, but failed to deliver. Wouldn't it have been so cool if the only person killed in the crash had been a robber fleeing the scene of the record-setting 216th Chicago bank heist this year? Or a crooked city official? Or the quarterback from the hated rival that just humiliated your team? But no, it was some innocent little kid. If I were his parents, I'd sue those passengers: If they hadn't bought those tickets, Southwest would never have flown, so really it's their fault.

Image borrowed from


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