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Pax Sick, Plane Sits

Bus Line Chicken Fingered In Group Illness

Any veteran of the Army's airborne forces has war stories about the contagiousness of airsickness on a cramped plane. But on a cramped AirTran Flight 497 Saturday, scheduled from BWI to MCO, there was no pre-jump nervousness, lack of windows, or nap-of-the-earth flight.

Some of the passengers were green around the gills already when they boarded. Four of them got sick enough to actually use those little bags, before the plane even left the gate; ten in all showed some signs of sickness.

The 737 was delayed at the gate while four serious cases (no word on whether these were the same four who were sick to the stomach) were rushed to the hospital with suspected food poisoning. Under the circumstances, the airline ordered everyone off, and had the plane disinfected, before the crew and healthy-enough passengers reboarded for a delayed trip to Orlando.

The common denominator among the victims: they were all members of a 75-pax group tour of Washington. On the tour bus they got a box lunch... some of them didn't think the chicken caesar salad tasted quite right. (This is what they call a clue). Perhaps Caesar made the salad a while ago -- the Ides of March, perhaps.

In proof that you just can't win in the airline business, the Associated Press story identified the airline that had to deal with the problem, AirTran... while letting the bus line tour operator -- the probable source of the problem -- off anonymously.

So, all we can do is send you to AirTran in the FMI link. You might as well book a flight... at least you know they'll disinfect the plane if the holidaymakers around all start... well, you know.

FMI: www.airtran.com

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