It wasn’t what the passengers on United flight 422 from Dallas to Newark expected to hear.
“Josh Summers is joining me in the flight deck tonight. Josh is a little boy from Texas who is dying from a rare form of blood cancer. His one dream is to land a 737, and tonight, thanks to the Make a Wish Foundation in partnership with United Airlines, Josh’s dream is going to come true. Josh will be accompanied by his teddy Mr. Boingy in the co-pilot’s seat as he lands our plane tonight at Newark Liberty”
Moments later the jet plunged 1000 feet in less than 20 seconds as Josh Summers thrust Mr. Boingy against the co-pilot’s yoke causing the nose of the plane to descend violently. From the window of the 737 passengers got an uncomfortably close-up view of an outbound SAS Airbus en route to Oslo. The Airbus captain, First Lt. Stig Svennson told TTT “I thought that there must be an air show on in the vicinity, I have never seen a commercial airliner flown like that, it was coming down like a hoggenshoort in a fluchcheffllen”.
Passengers reported that several members of the Dallas-based air crew–known for its byline “The Friendly Skies”–used crude language to describe the incident. “That was the first time I heard the f-word used in an in-flight announcement” said passenger Emily Massinolo from New York.
Make a Wish Foundation declined to comment for this story but US authorities are investigating to establish exactly how many airliners in US airspace have been under the control of dying children since the organization started to partner with United in late 2011.
Mr. Boingy was accompanied off the plane in Newark by Federal Agents and is believed to be in an FAA holding cell pending incident resolution.