Passenger: ‘Why does this keep happening to me?’

August 11, 2012

Two airline flights were disrupted in the Washington area recently under unusual circumstances — one airplane got stuck in the tarmac and the other was in a collision on the ground. Defying the odds, at least one man was on both flights.

Phillip Dugaw of Northern Virginia was on a US Airways plane that was scheduled to take off for Charleston, S.C., on July 6 when it got stuck in a soft spot near the gate at Reagan National Airport. On Friday, five weeks later, Dugaw was on a Lufthansa Airbus that clipped another plane at Dulles International Airport.

“These things seem to follow me,” Dugaw said with amusement.

A rough calculation suggests that, based on 10 million airline operations a year, the chances of being on both flights might be less than one in a billion.

In Friday’s incident, the Airbus had just left a gate about 3 p.m. when it clipped the tail of a United commuter plane that had just landed, according to a Dulles spokesman.

“Why does this keep happening to me?” Dugaw asked in an e-mail.

He said he was rebooked on a United flight that landed on time in Zurich, “with no crazy incidents.”

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