Saudi Arabia/USA/World: What Would YOU Do?

air tran dry run

I have not been able to fully validate this story which I received from an individual whom I trust via email.  However, it is thought provoking and makes one think about volatile situations and what should be the appropriate actions.

After you read the story, I look forward to your take and analysis.  Personally, I think the 11 men should have been removed permanently from the flight due to the disruption they caused rather than have been allowed back on.

What do you think about the reaction of passengers?  The decisions made by TSA and airline personnel?

Now that I’m sure I’ve got your curiousity, following is the story which was passed to me:

Tedd Petruna is a diver at the NBL (Neutral Buoyancy Lab) facility at NASA 
Houston . Tedd happened to be on the AirTran Flight 297, from Atlanta to 
Houston . Here’s his report: 

“One week ago, I went to Ohio on business and to see my father. On 
Tuesday, the 17th, I returned home. If you read the papers the 18th you 
may have seen a blurb about where an Air Tran flight was cancelled from 
Atlanta to Houston due to a man who refused to get off of his cell phone 
before take- off.. The story was only on Fox News. That was NOT what 
really happened. 

I was seated in 1st class coming home. Eleven Muslim men got on the plane 
in full Muslim attire. Two of them sat in 1st class and the rest seated 
themselves throughout the plane, in coach class, all the way to the back. 
As the plane taxied out to the runway, the stewardesses gave the safety 
spiel that we are all so familiar with. 

At that time, one of the men, in 1st class, got on his cell and called one 
of his companions back in coach. He proceeded to talk on the phone in 
Arabic very loudly and very, very aggressively. This activity took the 1st 
stewardess out of action for she repeatedly told the man that cell phones 
were not permitted at that time. He ignored her as if she were not there. 
The man, who answered the phone back in the coach section, did the same 
and this took out the 2nd stewardess. Further back in the plane, at the 
same time, two younger Muslims, one in the back on the aisle, and one 
sitting in front of him by the window, began to show footage of a porno 
video they had taped the night before. They were very loud about it. 

The 3rd stewardess informed the two men that they were not to have any 
electronic devices on at this time. One of the men said “shut up infidel 

The stewardess attempted to take the camcorder and the Muslim began to 
scream in her face in Arabic. At that exact moment, all eleven of the men 
got up and started to walk throughout the cabin. I guess that because of 
the noise, the flight crew must have decided that there was something 
amiss and changed the plane’s directions to head back to the terminal. 

The commotion and noise was reaching a feverish pitch, and at this point I 
had had enough! I got up and started towards the back of 1st class, when I 
heard a voice behind me, from another Texan twice my size, say “I got your 
back.” Then I grabbed the man, who had been on the cell phone, by the arm 
and said “You WILL sit down in your seat or you WILL be thrown from this 
plane!” As I “led” him around me to take his seat, the fellow Texan 
grabbed him by the back of his neck and his waist and headed him back to 
his seat. I then grabbed the 2nd man and said, “You WILL do the same!” 

He protested loudly, but my adrenaline was flowing now and he was going to 
go also. Just as I escorted him forward, the plane stopped, the doors 
opened and three TSA agents and four police officers entered the cabin. 
Myself and my new Texas friend were told to cease and desist for they had 
the situation under control. 

I was quite happy to oblige actually. There was still some sort of 
commotion in the back, but within moments, all eleven Muslim men were 
escorted off the plane. The TSA agents then had their luggage unloaded. We 
talked about the occurrence and were in disbelief that it had happened. 

Then suddenly, the door opened again and in walked all eleven Muslim men! 
Stone faced, eyes front and robotic, (the only way I can describe It) they were reseated.

The stewardess from the back had been in tears and 
when she saw the men, she was having NONE of it! Since I was up front, I 
heard and saw the whole ordeal. She told the TSA agents that there was NO 
WAY she was staying on the plane with the Muslim men. The agent told her 
that they had searched the men and were going through their luggage with a 
fine tooth comb. However, nothing had been found and that the men were 
allowed to proceed on to Houston . 

The captain and co-captain came out of the cockpit and told the agent, “We 
and our crew will not fly this plane!” After a word or two, the entire 
crew, luggage in tow, left the plane. Five minutes later, the cabin door 
opened again and a whole new crew walked on. Again, this was where I had 
had enough! I got up and asked the TSA agent, “What the hell is going on? 

I was told to take my seat. The airlines and TSA were sorry for the delay 
and we would be home shortly. I said “I’m getting off this plane”. The 
stewardess sternly told me that she could not allow me to get off. Now I’m 
really mad! I said “I am a grown man who bought this ticket, who’s time is 
mine with a family at home and I am going through that door, or I’m going 
through that door with you under my arm, but I AM going through that 

And then I heard a voice behind me say “So am I!” Then everyone behind us 
started to get up and say the same thing. Within two minutes, I was 
walking off that plane where I was met by more TSA agents who asked me to 
write a statement about the incident. I had five hours to kill at this 
point waiting for the next flight to Houston , so why the hell not give 
them my statement. Due to the amount of people who got off that flight, it 
was canceled. I was supposed to be in Houston at 6 PM, but I finally got 
there at 12:30 AM. If you don’t believe this, look up the date and then 
Flight 297 from Atlanta to Houston . 

If this wasn’t a terrorism dry run, I don’t know what one is. The 
terrorists wanted to see how TSA would handle it, how the crew would 
handle it, and how the passengers would handle it. I’m telling this to you 
because I want you to know. The threat IS real. I saw it with my own 

After reading the account of Petruna, I did check with using his name as search item.  Snopes confirms that an incident took place but has been over-exaggerated as depicted by Petruna.  I do believe that this incident does continue to raise questions though.  It never did explain the presence of the group of men and having them scattered across the airline in differing classes. What do you think?


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