Last night there was this story on the news that I just could not believe. There was this woman who fell asleep on a plane and when she woke up it was 3 hours after the plane had landed and there was just her and a cleaning crew. Very Langoliers-ish. I will give the woman one thing, it would have been pretty freaky to wake up that way. But this woman has already hired a lawyer and plans to sue for false imprisonment, emotional distress and negligence.
Seriously?!? Can we just look at a few things first before this goes to court or before United decides to settle the case outright?
This woman was on a flight from DC to Philadelphia. This was not a LA to New York flight we are talking about here…it was DC to Philly. If you drive from Dulles to Philly it is 167 miles and takes right around 3 hours (without traffic). Flying that distance takes around 50 minutes. How in the world can a person get to sleep, and to such a sound sleep, on a flight that short?
I don’t know about you but I could never fall asleep before a plane gets off the ground. There is just too much stuff going on…the noise of the engines, the bumpiness of those tiny wheels moving along the runway, the sudden jolt as the plane starts down the runway and that stomach churning second or two when the wheels part from the ground and you take to the sky. During a 50 minute flight you have about 10 minutes of take off and ascent and about 10 minutes of descent and landing. I am going to assume that the woman fell asleep during that 30 minutes in between.
So during that 30 minutes this woman fell so deeply asleep that she slept through the entire landing process. I can’t even sleep through the cat jumping onto or off of the bed. This woman slept through the plane touching down, the announcements over the intercom of the pilot welcoming the passengers to Philadelphia and thanking them for choosing United, all of the lights in the plane being turned on and every other passenger gathering up their belongings and leaving the plane. Being that sound asleep is bordering on being dead and totally reminded me of this:
How do you sleep for 4 hours on a flight that only lasts 50 minutes? I just don’t get how a person can have such little control over themselves to allow this to happen. I just don’t understand how you could not have that internal clock that just doesn’t allow this to happen. And while I do agree that United’s flight crew should have noticed she was asleep, there is no way this woman has any kind of case here.
Story: [USA Today]