E-mail about AirTran flight 297

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by Michelle Homer

khou.com

Posted on December 3, 2009 at 6:26 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 3 at 7:15 PM

This is the e-mail Houstonian Tedd Petruna sent last month about flight 297 from Atlanta to Houston.

"One week ago, I went to Ohio on business and to see my father. On Tuesday, November 17, I returned home. If you read the papers, you may have seen a blurb where an AirTran flight was cancelled from Atlanta to Houston due to a man who refused to get off of his cell phone before takeoff.  It was on Fox. 
That was NOT what happened!
I was in first class coming home. Eleven muslim men got on the plane in full attire. Two sat in first class and the rest peppered themselves throughout the plane all the way to the back.  As the plane taxied to the runway, the stewardesses gave the safety spiel we are all so familiar with. At that time, one of the men got on his cell and called one of his companions in the back and proceeded to talk on the phone in Arabic very loudly and very aggressively. This took the first stewardess out of the picture for she repeatedly told the man that cell phones were not permitted at the time. He ignored her as if she wasn’t there.
The second man who answered the phone did the same and this took out the second stewardess.  In the back of the plane at this time, 2 younger muslims, one in the back aisle, and one in front of him, window, began to show footage of a porno they had taped the night before, and were very loud about it.  Now, they are only permitted to do this prior to Jihad.  If a Muslim man goes into a strip club, he has to view the woman via mirror with his back to her (don’t ask me, I don’t make the rules, but I’ve studied). The third stewardess informed them that they were not to have electronic devices on at this time. To which one of the men said, “shut up infidel dog!” She went to take the camcorder and he began to scream in her face in Arabic.
At that exact moment, all 11 of them got up and started to walk to the cabin. This is where I had had enough! I got up and started to the back where I heard a voice behind me from another Texan twice my size say, “I got your back.” I grabbed the man who had been on the phone by the arm and said, “you WILL go sit down 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 out with him. I then grabbed the second man and said, “You WILL do the same!” He protested but adrenaline was flowing now and he was going to go. As I escorted him forward, the plane doors open and 3 TSA agents and 4 police officers entered. Me and my new Texan friend were told to cease and desist for they had this under control. I was happy to oblige actually. There was some commotion in the back, but within moments, all 11 were escorted off the plane. They then unloaded their luggage.
We talked about the occurrence and were in disbelief that it had happened, when suddenly, the door opened again and on walked all eleven!!  Stone faced, eyes front and robotic (the only way I can describe it). The stewardess from the back had been in tears and when she saw this, she was having NONE of it! Being that I was up front, I heard and saw the whole ordeal. She told the TSA agent there was NO WAY she was staying on the plane with these men. The agent told her they had searched them and were going to go through their luggage with a fine tooth comb and that they were allowed to proceed to Houston. The captain and co-captain came out 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 is where I had had enough!! I got up and asked, “What the hell is going on?” I was told to take my seat. They were sorry for the delay and I 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 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 door!!” And I heard a voice behind me say, “So am I.” Then everyone behind us started to get up and say the same. Within 2 minutes, I was walking off that plane where I was met with more agents who asked me to write a statement. I had 5 hours to kill at this point so why the hell not. Due to the amount of people who got off that flight, it was cancelled. I was supposed to be in Houston at 6pm. I got here at 12:30am. 
Look up the date. Flight 297, Atlanta to Houston. 
If this wasn’t a dry run, I don’t know what one is. They 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 eyes.
Tedd Petruna
 

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