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further flights of fright

CNN: Two F-15 fighter jets escorted a passenger jet that had been headed for Hawaii back to Portland International Airport in Oregon after a passenger in coach became “uncooperative,” an airline official said Wednesday.

As this drama at 30,000 feet unfolds, keep in mind that the F-15 Strike Eagles cost $30,000,000 each and $40,000 per hour to operate.

The Transportation Security Administration said the captain decided to return the plane to Portland “due to a suspicious passenger who made threatening remarks and refused to store his carry-on bag.”

He probably said something scary like, I have five jars of honey and know how to use them! In this crazy world of government-controlled commercial aviation the first tool that comes to mind when a passenger doesn’t want to properly store his carry-on bag is to bring on a hundred million dollars worth of fighter aircraft or at least several hundred thousand dollars worth of fire trucks and homeland security Hummers.

Hawaiian Airlines Flight 39 took off from Portland at 10:10 a.m. with 231 passengers and a crew of 10 when — 90 minutes into the flight — its captain decided to turn around the Boeing 767, said Keoni Wagner, the airline’s vice president of public affairs.

Upon the plane’s return, the passenger — a 56-year-old Salem, Oregon, man — was escorted from the plane with his female companion without incident, the FBI and the Port of Portland said in a joint statement. The FBI said it was not releasing his name because he had not been charged.

We have 240 people cowering in one corner of this 155-foot-long aircraft and a lone 56-year old man scaring the pee out of them by holding instead of stowing his carry-on. Fighter jets appear outside both windows, the whole airborne parade cancels their Hawaiian trip and returns to Portland. This somehow makes sense to someone.

FBI agents and Port officers interviewed the passenger and his companion, the flight crew and others, then released the two and referred the matter to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for review.

Local and federal officers searched the plane, then allowed it to depart again for Hawaii, absent the pair.

They searched the entire plane, then ALLOWED it to depart again for Hawaii. C’mon, who writes this copy? They ought to make it believable, shouldn’t they? What would they do if something really scary appeared in their lives?

Coming soon, no carry on. Not a stitch. No clothes. No prosthetics. Nothing.

Unfortunately somebody will find something to be afraid of no matter what TSA does.