Monday, August 13, 2007

What do cruise ships and airplanes have in common?

Over the weekend, their passengers experienced delays near Los Angeles.

At LAX a glitch caused the computer system that processes customs information to malfunction on Saturday and again Sunday night, causing as many as 20,000 people to be left waiting on airplanes and inside and outside terminals for hours. Incoming and outgoing international flights ground to a standstill as the terminals filled with stranded passengers. Passengers on incoming flights were forced to sit and wait in at least forty planes on the tarmac.

A Carnival Cruise Lines ship was delayed for two hours at the Long Beach Cruise Terminal when a suspicious boat was spotted near the ship. Federal security regulations prohibit unidentified vessels from coming within 100 yards of a cruise ship; the security zone also extends to 200 yards in front of a ship. A skiff with four occupants was spotted and subsequently disappeared before authorities could respond. Nothing out of the ordinary was found by divers who searched the pier area and cruise ship hull. The cruise ship, Carnival Pride, departed safely at 6 p.m. Sunday.

Thankfully, those events weren't life-threatening and both have happy, albeit frustrating outcomes. We're certain that passengers aboard Carnival Pride were happier (and more comfortable) than those aboard the 'stranded' airliners. We wonder how many of them were planning to embark on a cruise the day of their arrival.

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