It was a dark and stormy night at Dulles airport last week when the TWA captain began to worry about a Mutiny on the Boeing.
Suddenly a shout rang out.
The passengers wanted food. They also wanted drink.
The scene was a stranded Boeing 707 that had been forced down at Dulles en route from Kansas City to New York's Kennedy International Airport. Rainstorms on the East Coast had closed down Kennedy airport, and the plane had been sitting on the Dulles runway for hours.
Faced with a possible mutiny by their restless cargo, the crew sent out for food. Six hundred hamburgers to go, in fact, all from a nearby McDonalds. And then, to fill out the menu, TWA officials proudly pirated some champagne and wine from neighboring aircraft.
"The caterers at Dulles were all closed, so we found a McDonalds and bought 600 hamburgers," said TWA public affairs director David Venz . "We served the passengers hamburgers and champagne on the plane while they waited to be cleared for takeoff."
Some of the hamburgers were distributed to passengers on other delayed TWA flights at Dulles.
"We often get accused of being inconsiderate in these situations, but we think we did the best that can be expected," Venz said.
But fine airline dining wasn't the only treat in store for the TWA passengers. When they finally arrived at Kennedy Airport--nearly 12 hours after they left Kansas City on what was to be a 2-hour and 40-minute flight--they discovered that all ground transportation except taxis had been halted for the night. In the spirit of free enterprise, the few available cabs began auctioning their services to the highest bidders until nearby police were summoned to put a halt to the profiteering.
Many of the passengers were forced to spend the remainder of the night in the terminal. Since the weather delay did not prevent the flight from reaching its ultimate destination, the airline did not provide accommodations.
"After all," Venz said, "any passenger who wanted to could have gotten off the plane in Washington. Of course, there were no guarantees that anyone would be able to get back on once we got the green light from New York to start up the engines."