I wanted to mention one aspect of the evolving story about Flight 1549 that I don’t like, and that is the glee with which people are telling the story about the woman who was trying to get her luggage from the overhead compartment. She wouldn’t immediately exit the plane, she wanted to get her luggage first, and she’s made to leave by other passengers. Her story ends with her luggage floating down the Hudson.
When I first heard about her, I was amazed, and also had not quite a serves-her-right feeling, but I guess the fact that her luggage ended up floating down the Hudson felt like the perfect ending to her plane story. But then I thought about it and realized, she was just panicking, right? And this is how it manifested itself. The people who forced her away from the overhead bin and off the plane were right to do so, they could have left her. If things had gone a little differently their help might have made the difference between life and death. They are heroes really.
But in the accounts I’ve read, everyone seems to take this weird pleasure in the fact that her luggage ended up floating down the Hudson. Like she’s a bad person, and this is fitting. I don’t know, it’s like a small pile-on, everyone’s being a little too quick to judge. Except maybe she was blocking the aisle, and even if she was in some weird panic/denial mode, people didn’t know they would soon be rescued and everything would be okay. They were fleeing for their lives and she was in the way unnecessarily. Okay, their anger is understandable. And taking a little pleasure in her lost luggage is understandable. But why do people reporting this story join them? They should have distance. And a tiny bit of compassion.