>While waiting for my flight to San Francisco last week, a slick promotions guy gave me a coupon to use the new in-flight internet service gogo. I shoved the card in my pocket, and used my captive time to finish reading a book for school. My plan was also to do work on my way back, but odd events prompted me to blog instead.

Everything seemed normal. We pushed back from the gate. A flight attendant announced that our flying time would be five hours and ten minutes. This was 35 minutes less than scheduled, so I was pleased. We taxied. The plane stopped.

"We'll be returning to the gate to discharge a sick passenger," a flight attendant informed us.

I looked around. No one in front of me looked ill. I thought that planes did not let people off once they were boarded unless they were sick enough to need an ambulance, or rowdy enough to require police removal. I tried to be compassionate, but I was pissed about the delay.

We pulled into the gate. A man three rows ahead of me stood up and got off. I expected him to take a bag down from the overhead. He walked off unencumbered by a carry on. Fuck. Now we'd have to wait for his luggage to be rooted out from the checked bags.

My friend, who is a very nervous flyer, said, "They better damn well take off any bags he had with him. How will we know? He didn't take a bag off the plane."

"He had a brief case," the guy across the aisle cut in.

"Someone is going to fly across the country with just a brief case? That seems suspicious." Sara's eyes filled with tears.

I suggested that she ask the flight attendant about the baggage situation. When he walked by, she stopped him. He said that they knew he didn't check any bags. Sara pointed out that he didn't remove any from the plane, either. He flight attendant frowned.

"I'm sure he took all his bags."

Sara asked him to check the overhead bin just in case. A black carry-on was stowed. All the nearby passengers were asked if it was theirs. No one claimed it. The flight attendant paled. He pulled the suitcase out a bit and loudly asked whose it was. Finally, some guy looked up. "Oh, that's mine." Crisis resolved.

The woman sitting on my other side commented, "I expected them to cart out someone if he's so sick he can't fly. This is strange."

It occurred to me that once the "sick" guy was on the plane with or without his bag, whether or not they let him off, if he brought a bag it was already on the plane and there was nothing we could do. He could have stashed it in an overhead bin not near his seat. I resolved to just enjoy the flight.

*This post is inadvertently sponsored by gogo, although the company will probably regret it.