Talk about ungratefulness. Word seeped out this week that many of the passengers who were aboard US Airways Flight 1549 are now feeling like it's not nearly enough that their lives were miraculously spared. The Airbus jet, which experienced dual-engine failure after a freakish bird strike on January 15, was brought down during a flawless emergency landing on the Hudson River. Thanks to the quick thinking and skill of pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, the jet remained in one piece, and there was not a single loss of life.
The airline has offered $5,000 per passenger to replace lost items that sank to the riverbed. US Airways has also extended Chairman's Preferred status to all of the flight's 150 passengers, through March 2010. Chairman's Preferred Status bestows benefits such as complimentary upgrades to first-class on domestic flights (when seats are available) and a first-class upgrade to either Europe or Hawaii, among other perks. Apparently, some of the passengers and their advocates don't think this offer goes nearly far enough.
"We're grateful everyone survived, and the captain on the plane was so marvelous," says Gail Dunham, the executive director of the National Air Disaster Alliance & Foundation. "But passengers lost luggage, briefcases, cellphones, BlackBerrys and business documents, and went through a terrific ordeal."
So what will make these people happy? Fifty-thousand dollars to replace their carry-on items and checked bags? Lifetime Chairman Prefered Status? How about just a lifetime—the second chance they were given to hug their loved ones. Let's face it: This accident was not the result of human error. It occured due to an unavoidable act of nature. Birds flew into the engines. Birds caused the plane to conk out. Maybe these unhappy passengers should sue the Audubon Society. Or perhaps they could take Mike Myers, Wayne Gretzky and Pamela Anderson to court. After all, the feathered offenders were Canada geese.
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