Strange Men with Black Bags

April 28, 2013

in Odds & Ends Stories

So, I was boarding a flight from a great vacation at Disney in Orlando. After having such a great time nothing could get me down…or so I thought! I was riding premium economy on JetBlue to JFK then BOS. Once we boarded and got settled, there was a strange looking man sitting behind me. The pilot came over the intercom and stated that we had a “brake malfunction” and it would take around one whole hour to fix it!! I was livid. Then to make things worse they started to check all the kid’s tickets, then they walked to the strange man behind me and checked his ticket… he was definitely not a child – he was in his mid 40’s.

Once we took off, it was a nice view over Orlando! I got up to go to the bathroom about half way through the flight and there was that man holding a black bag… he also had a phone in his hand and appeared to be texting in Arabic… not sure though. I did my thing in the bathroom and came out only to find him praying. I started to panic. My biggest fear is a terrorist attack. He then got up out of his seat and started to talk nonsense. Like we all have to get off of this plane it is going to blow up. He was immediately dealt with by the flight attendants. But of course we were grounded. We ended up in Raleigh. So we stopped and he was taken off the plane.

We got back on our way without the strange man. When we were about 15 minutes away from landing at JFK, the pilot did his little speech about sorry for the disruption earlier and he hopes we fly with JetBlue again. He also states that we were going to have to land without brakes because apparently they weren’t fixed. I once again panicked. We finally hit the runway, and it took us forever to slow down. We did, and everyone gave a big hoot and holler.

Now of course we already had a two hour layover at New York and a 50 minute flight to Boston, and if that wasn’t enough our flight was delayed 1 hour and 30 minutes. Our flight was scheduled to leave New York at 9 and get home by 10 pm. Let me tell you that did not happen! When the plane finally arrived it wasn’t 5 minutes until they told us we were delayed more because of an elevator issue… whatever the hell that is. Of course to add on to the stress, more strange men with black bags were there.

It was finally time to board the plane at 1 in the morning. I was furious. SO, here is the biggest killer. They put us on a plane that was extremely hot and smelled terrible. The pilot said we should be about 30 minutes ’till takeoff. He also said that the plane was missing its individual power unit!?? So, in that case if we were to stall mid-air no turning the plane back on. It was a very uneventful flight once we got into the air.

Now, finally we are home! We get to the gate and I hear that ding of the intercom… by that time I was really sick of that noise. The bridge leading up to the gate thing was broken. They were going to have to fix it. By that time I was cranky and mad. It was way past 3 before I finally arrived home. This was my flight from hell!

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

sports bra lady April 29, 2013 at 12:49 am

Could you actually see the writing on his cell phone? How did the flight attendants deal with his behavior?


Maggie April 29, 2013 at 2:37 am

How could they fly without brakes? Isn't there some air safety law about this?


zzguy August 20, 2016 at 8:32 am

They can reverse the thrust of the engines to slow down.


RsT April 29, 2013 at 11:35 am

Either the OP is confused about the details or this is BS. There is no way any airline in the US would operate without a major piece of equipment fully functional. There is also no way a pilot is going to communicate this to the passengers. And whatever he was doing I am fairly certain it was not texting unless the plane had WIFI. You typically can not get a signal at 30,000 feet.


RGM April 29, 2013 at 11:59 am

Brakes are on the MEL (minimum equipment list). As a pilot, I would have grounded the airplane. The elevator is critical to control the pitch of the aircraft. Think Alaskan Air that went into the water off LA. A jackscrew that controls the elevator broke. Could be the ABS on the brakes not functioning correctly or redlighted during the flight. JFK has long runways that using reverse thrust on the engines is sufficient to slow and stop.


Belafonte La Pootera April 29, 2013 at 8:04 pm



Belle April 30, 2013 at 11:23 am



prp April 30, 2013 at 6:49 pm

Could only see this scenario in Russia.
Aeroflot comes to mind.


Ismail Djalilov May 1, 2013 at 3:32 am

I dont believe this blog. Its badly written. And it just doesnt make any sense. I am gonna stop reading this entire site. Waste of time.


Ismail Djalilov May 1, 2013 at 3:34 am

Prp when was the last time you have flown aeroflot? I flew them a lot in the 80s, as they were the only mean of transportation. Let me tell you. Nowadays, ALL american carriers are aeroflot of ussr. I flew aeroflot 2 years ago, it was an awesome airline. The way people are treated by mean and grumpy flight attendants on any us carrier reminds me of my soviet childhood.


mrsjamiecbaker May 1, 2013 at 9:06 am

Not to be rude, but it was very unfair of you to associate the man who was possible texting in Arabic with terrorist activity. He could have simply been texting his wife/child, then praying as a part of his regular routine as dictated by his religion. His black bag could have been a simple carry-on like anyone else has, and his outburst due to a fear of flying. Had he been a blond woman in her 30s instead of a "strange" foreigner, would thoughts of terrorism even entered your head?


Belafonte La Pootera May 1, 2013 at 5:26 pm

No, be "rude" (if by rude, you mean being an enlightened and rational human being, which it looks like you are!)


mrsjamiecbaker May 2, 2013 at 10:57 am

Thanks! 🙂


@RhovanionGirl February 5, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Agreed. Or because she saw him praying. I see people who are scared of flying praying all the fricken time on airplanes.


Stories From The Air May 3, 2013 at 11:45 am

Sounds like taking us for a ride. A whole lot of hogwash


Krista October 12, 2014 at 1:34 pm

Nothing could get you down, but a lousy 1 hour delay makes you livid? And you get angry that they check some people’s tickets?


Traveler1 December 31, 2015 at 10:02 pm

I have a feeling any foreign looking person (ie. not white) communicating in any way at all (not that texting would be possible at 30k feet) in any other language other than english would freak this idiot out. If you can't understand nor handle any other kind of person, you've no business travelling.


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