The Washington Post

Why the Reagan National Airport air traffic controller slept

Early on Wednesday, pilots trying to radio the air traffic control tower at Washington’s Reagan National Airport met with only silence. Attempts by others to reach the controller on the “shout line” to a loudspeaker in the tower were equally unsuccessful. The pilots were forced to land unassisted. Fortunately, no one was harmed, and the FAA is now investigating.

It is now being reported that the air traffic controller was asleep on the job. But how — and why?

Here are a few possibilities:

• Less embarrassing than admitting he was watching Rebecca Black’s “Friday” on loop.

• Under spell; required kiss from a prince.

• Joe Biden was telling him about a dream he had for better rail service and he was too polite to get off the phone.

• Came across some Dutchmen playing nine pins; woke up decades later, unable to help with the landing because he thought airplanes were “wizard carriages.”

• Read biography of Calvin Coolidge.

• Watched Donald Trump speak to women on The View, heard Michele Bachmann was forming presidential exploratory committee, opted to be put to sleep for next several months.

• Part of daring, edgy campaign for Serta mattresses to promote new slogan: Serta: Sleep Like an Air Traffic Controller.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day. She is the author of "A Field Guide to Awkward Silences".


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