Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

A Flight Attendant never knows what sorts of people will appear for a flight.

Or what state they'll be in.

The Flight Attendant hopes for quiet, for all carry-ons to be small enough to stow in the overhead bins and for the flight to be on time, so that they can get home on time.

A Thursday-night to Friday morning Delta Air Lines red-eye from Salt Lake City to Orlando didn't offer Flight Attendants quite what they were hoping.

As the Miami Herald reports, the Boeing 757 with 187 passengers and 6 crew members on board ended up making a detour to Oklahoma City, where it was met by police officers.

They were there to greet Utah resident Derek Maas, a passenger on the plane. Maas, police say, was drunk and had headbutted a Flight Attendant.

It seems that Maas may have been intoxicated by the time he got on the plane.

Things seem to have escalated when he pestered Flight Attendants to give him more alcohol.

Flight Attendants are in a slightly more difficult position than bartenders. The latter can cut a customer off and hope that he disappears into the night.

If not, perhaps a bouncer or two will assist in kicking the customer out.

On a plane, there isn't quite such a luxury. Planes are claustrophobic, with passengers in dangerous proximity to each other. You can't immediately kick someone out. 

It's little surprising, therefore, that the Delta captain decided that the plane had to make an unscheduled landing, in order to remove Maas.

NewsOK, though, offers a difficult kink to how Maas allegedly became more intoxicated.

It says that Flight Attendants initially refused to serve him more drinks. However, Maas allegedly did a deal with Flight Attendant Antonio Jose Brazao that if he could get a couple more drinks, he'd go to sleep.

This wouldn't be the easiest judgment call for Brazao to make. Could he be sure that Maas would behave? Could he be sure that if he didn't give Maas the drinks he'd behave?

It seems, though, that Brazao may have kept his side of the bargain, while Maas didn't.

He allegedly downed the drinks quickly, demanded more a scene ensued.

Brazao was, police say, the Flight Attendant who was headbutted -- while Maas was then restrained in his seat by the crew, with passengers lending a helping hand.

What if the Flight Attendant had refused to partake of Maas's deal? What if he'd been steadfast in say no? Didn't he, some might think, have a duty to say no?

If he had said no, would the situation have turned worse all the same?

I asked Delta whether it had a specific policy in incidents such as these. An airline spokesman told me:

Delta applauds the quick action and professionalism of the crew of Delta flight 2603 operating from Salt Lake City to Orlando which diverted to Oklahoma City after a customer became unruly and violent on board. The crew restrained the customer and the flight was met by law enforcement in Oklahoma City, where he was removed and taken into custody. The flight continued to Orlando, arriving two hours past schedule. The safety and security of our customers and crew are always Delta's top priority.

Airlines are becoming increasingly concerned about drunkenness on flights.

Ryanair, for example, is calling for restrictions on alcohol sales at airports.

It is, indeed, startling when one arrives at an airport early in the morning and some people are downing beers or something even more potent. 

Few, I fear, are doing if for medicinal reasons.

In the Delta case, hindsight is perfect, of course. But if the police statements and reports are accurate, one can't help but wonder how Maas was allowed on the plane in the first place. 

Published on: Sep 23, 2018