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Whitney Houston, and all fliers, please heed this advice

October 13, 2011|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
  • Whitney Houston performs at a pre-Grammy gala in February.
Whitney Houston performs at a pre-Grammy gala in February. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)

Whitney Houston, I don't know exactly what happened on the Delta Air Lines flight from Atlanta on Wednesday as you were en route to begin filming "Sparkle."

TMZ cites "multiple sources" (none named) who say you had a kerfuffle with members of the flight crew and refused to buckle your seat belt. Eventually, TMZ reports, a flight attendant buckled it for you.

Really? OK, I'm not going to judge.

But for everyone, celebrity or plebe, who might be unaware of the potential consequences of their behavior aboard a plane, consider this: It's illegal to interfere with the duties of an in-flight crew member. Federal law. And no amount of outraged tweeting will change that.

Travel Editor Catharine Hamm parses exactly what that means in a recent On the Spot column:

"Crew members" also include the PIC, or pilot in command, said Ian Gregor, a Federal Aviation Administration representative. "We have a rule that says that the PIC has ultimate authority over everything."

"So if the pilot tells you to do it, you'd better do it," Hamm continues in the column. "Add him or her to the list of people you should never cross (a list that presumably also includes any nun or your mother). No buts about it."

Now you know -- if you didn't already.

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