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Ross: Happy to sit near able-bodied men with zip ties

A Delta flight from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport flies nearly empty to JFK in March 2020 near New York City. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Of all the headlines in the paper yesterday, this is the one that caught my eye: “Off-duty flight attendant detained after in-flight struggle.”

There were many far more important stories, but that’s the one I kept coming back to. And it’s because in a couple of weeks, I’ll be boarding a plane for the first time in over a year.

Which is to say I’ll be in a flying cauldron of travel-deprived mask-averse anarchists.

It’s even more terrifying that the crazy passenger in the story would be an off-duty flight attendant – who you would think would understand the rules. Instead, he used his skills to make a phony announcement on the cabin speakers telling passengers to take their seats and get ready to put on their oxygen masks.

The announcement was then followed by the voice of the pilot dropping any pretense of political correctness to order that “all able-bodied men” come to the front of the plane. Which they did. About half the plane got up – and pretty soon the rascal was zip-tied like a fresh-cut Christmas tree.

These days, when you hear the phrase “men with zip ties,” you think of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. But we have to remember there are times when a big guy with zip ties is exactly what you need.

There are times when I’ve ended up flying in a middle seat between two large men, and yes, it gets a little close, and deodorants are sometimes imperfect, but when the weirdness starts, these are the guys who will save your life.

The FAA reports 2,900 unruly passengers so far this year, most of them angry about masks. But I’ll bet that for every one of those miscreants … there were at least 20 able-bodied men, ready to rush to the front and apply the zip ties. And I thank them.

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