I just got back from an eleven-flight itinerary, but I will only describe one, because the rest were routine.
I was about to board my first MD
-90. It was Delta Flight 1007 from SLC
, aircraft N912DN. As I entered the cabin, I noticed that it looked very much like a Delta MD
-88, except the seats were 2-3 instead of 3-2, and the overhead bins had a handrail running under them. I sat down in seat 16E, a window seat on the right side. I had two people sitting next to me. The plane appeared to be full. As we taxied out, I noticed a flight attendant talking to a man about four rows ahead of me on the other side, and she appeared to be extremely upset. I tried to hear what was going on, but there was a crying three-year-old across the aisle, and it was hard to hear over him. Another passenger who could see and hear better told me the man was upset because he didn't want to stow his luggage properly for takeoff. The flight attendant went back up to her jumpseat for takeoff. Just as we turned onto the runway, the man got out of his seat and ran up toward the cockpit. I heard someone yell at him that we would return to the gate. Immediately the aircraft turned off the runway at the first turnoff, and we taxied back to the gate so fast that I thought a wingtip might scrape the ground as we turned. We went into a different gate, and there were emergency vehicles waiting. As soon as we stopped and the engines were shut down, the captain ran out of the cockpit and confronted the guy. I couldn't hear what he said, but then several security or police officers ran onto the plane and told the man to get up and go with them. He must have refused, because they jerked him out of his seat, and he fell on the floor against the bulkhead on the three-seat side, right on the passengers' feet. They finally got him up, and he came up swinging. He really put up a fight. It took four men to subdue him. After he was removed from the plane, some Delta executives in suits came aboard and asked if we were all right. Then some medics came aboard and checked out the passengers that had been in his way. Next, the flight attendants came around with forms for passengers to write about what they had seen. This went on for about an hour. A passenger across the aisle asked a flight attendant if she thought Delta would offer free drinks when we got airborne. She said that was not up to Delta, it was up to her. We finally took off about an hour and a half late. The flight attendants announced that since it was a short flight, an abbreviated beverage service was normally offered on that flight, which was a choice of lemonade, cranapple juice, or water. But she said that she thought they could bust their buns and offer a full beverage service with the cart, and cocktails were on the house.
I thought the Delta people handled this very well. The flight attendants were very friendly and performed admirably. The passengers all kept their cool. The only person I saw who showed any fear was an eight-year-old boy who said, "Daddy, I'm scared!" But his father calmed him down, and he was fine after they took the man off the plane. By the time we got to Las Vegas, many of the passengers had become friends. It was quite an experience.