What would you have done?

Sep 13th, 2001, 07:47 AM
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What would you have done?

I am struck by how profoundly all this changes air travel, and I keep thinking about what it must have been like to be on one of those 4 planes.

I am thinking about the role cellphones played, first of all. I'm thinking of making sure I have some emergency contact numbers in the auto-dial list, but I wish I knew of a nation-wide 911 equivalent. If I dialed 911 I'd just my local small-town emergency offices, and I don't think they could cope with a "we've been hijacked" call. Is there an FAA number that would work?

Of course, potential hijackers now would know to get rid of cellphones, so how would I hide my cellphone?

More important, it sounds like there were some incredibly smart and heroic passengers on the flights that didn't make their intended targets. What did they do? What would I do? For one thing, they had to understand instantly that they were doomed and had to keep their heads enough to try to save people on the ground. We can never thank them and we can never thank their families enough.

But I wonder if we will not all have to understand that by boarding an aircraft that might possibly be hijacked, we are potentially putting ourselves in the same position with the same decisions to make. So what would be smart and what would be stupid?

If the hijacker says he has a bomb, it's now got to be "too bad -- much better to blow us up here in the air than force us into a populated target."

Anyone else's thoughts about what they would do?
Sep 13th, 2001, 07:52 AM
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You ask a question that I don't think anyone can answer, unless facing the circumstances those poor people faced.

I don't know what to say other than that I think those who rose up and helped thwart the hijackers are heros.
Sep 13th, 2001, 07:55 AM
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When you use your cell phone to dial 911, it does not matter where your original service is from. The call will be directed to the nearest available cell tower that your carrier has in the area. Therefore, the 911 call will be to a local operater and not your original location.

As far as what I would do...I would definitely try and so something to stop them. If I knew I was going to die, I would put up one hell of a fight even if i got hurt in the meantime. Those terrorist bastards would have to do a lot of slashing in order to keep me away from them.
Sep 13th, 2001, 09:19 AM
dan woodlief
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I would like to think I would do something, but it depends on the situation. This was so new. Most people, I am sure, had no idea what their fate was to be after the highjacking so didn't feel desparate enough to do something. I have often wondered whether I would call my family in such a situation. I probably would, but I wonder whether it would be good for them, knowing they had had a chance to say goodbye or would make it harder for them. Since I am flying in a few weeks, this is not a comfortable thought.
Sep 13th, 2001, 09:40 AM
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I'm flying with Jason from now on....
But seriously, previous hijackings resulted in being diverted to a different airport not devestation. The passengers on the flights that hit the WTC couldn't have imagined their fate. As news comes develops I'm sure we'll find out just how brave our fellow Americans were.
Sep 13th, 2001, 10:22 AM
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I definitely would put up a fight if I knew/thought I was going to die. I remember the Holocaust where people now look back and say never again. We must fight back! We shouldn't be sitting ducks.
Sep 13th, 2001, 11:27 AM
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If you note that the two flights that did not reach their intended targets were those that were taken _after_ the WTC impact, and you know that there was a lot of cell-phone traffic from both planes, it's likely that some people knew what had happen to the first 2 hijacked planes and that this was not going to be just a diversion.

We may never know who those heroes were, but I hope we find a way to acknowledge what they did.

Thanks for info re:911. I would think FAA/FCC might think about coordination of emergencies like this. Just one of an enormous number of things we might need to do.

Dan, my spouse intends -- despite my objection -- to go to Berlin in 7 days, assuming the airlines are running something like their planned schedule.
For what it's worth (and based on some sad personal history), I think as agonizing as it would be to talk to your family under such circumstances, they would always and forever be grateful for the last contact, and it would make their grieving just a tad less horrible.
Sep 13th, 2001, 11:31 AM
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A chance to say goodbye: that's a great, great gift.
Sep 13th, 2001, 12:49 PM
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Now that we know we will die anyway, I will fight any attempted hijacking. I wouldn't have done that before so my attitude has definitely changed.
Sep 13th, 2001, 02:38 PM
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Just a thought I had earlier today . . .

Given that they are now saying carryons will be a thing of the past, doesn't the thread we had a while back arguing over carryons seem terribly, ironically moot?
Sep 13th, 2001, 07:04 PM
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Have you seen the clear plastic back-packs the schools are sometimes requiring their kids to use? What about clear-plastic carryons! (Woowoo, what you might get to see....!)

Just trying a little levity... the weight of the horror is something else, and I live 600 miles away from it. Yes, definitely, anyone on a hijacked plane has to assume they are being called on to be martyrs just as much as the extremist-terrorists think they are.
Sep 14th, 2001, 01:43 AM
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if i knew i were dead anyway, i hope that i would do what those passengers on the united flight did. they are truly heroes, and i know that they saved countless other lives.

however, without the info they received, if i were on a hijacked plane i would probably sit still and be good so no one would get stabbed or killed. before tues, what ordinary person would imagine that the plane would be used for such a purpose?

thx for the info re: 911 calls. as for hiding cell phones, there is a phone that looks like a PDA and another that is the size of a credit card. i'm sure some company somewhere will come up with other things. it is a truly amazing invention. see what a part it played this past week.

i'm now off to observe the europe 3 minute silence, and in addition to my prayers, a special thanks or those who died on their own terms to save others, whether in the air or on the ground.
Sep 14th, 2001, 05:09 AM
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(Justso -- what a corrosive comment. You can't honestly think that's what people were saying.)

These were big planes with a lot of people and, under the circumstances, a lot of chaos. My guess is that while a number of people had cell phones and knew what was going on, most did not. Communication up and down all those rows, esp. if plane is pitching around, is difficult. Imagine what it took for the few heroes to communicate enough with each other to challenge the hijackers.

For one thing, in that situation, only 1/3 of the passengers were in aisle seats and not all of them would have been physically strong enough to imagine challenging the hijackers. First they had to comprehend what was happening, then that they were doomed anyway, then agree that the thing to do was to ignore directives to sit still, etc. etc. etc.

It's sad that some of the passengers who did not know what the situation was (if they didn't -- perhaps the others went ahead and yelled out the details or got the word passed back through the plane) may have thought the heroes were making a stupid move. But now everyone understands.

Would I have had the courage? I don't know, but I always fly in a window seat.

Which brings me to: on European carriers, you never know your seat assignment ahead of time unless you are in premium class. On my last European flight, they dealt with my need for a window seat (has to do with balance, but that's another story) by replying they would try to comply at gate check-in and then they separated me from the rest of my party, scattering us around the plane.

One of the things the FAA might consider is a similar, if inconvenient, ban on pre-check-in seat assignment.

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