Procedures mandated enplanement

Here's a good one.

The [Transportation] department has sent Continental Airlines a letter asking for details on Continental Express Flight 2816, which left Houston at 9:23 p.m. Friday but didn't arrive at its destination in Minneapolis until after 11 a.m. Saturday.

In between, the small airliner spent nearly seven hours sitting on the tarmac in Rochester, where it had been diverted because of thunderstorms, before passengers were allowed to go inside an airport terminal. Two and a half hours after disembarking, passengers reboarded the same plane and were flown to Minneapolis.

The airline is claiming that the passengers had to stay "enplaned" because TSA officials had left for the night, meaning that nobody would be available to screen the passengers again before reboarding. They were finally allowed to get off next morning when the TSA officers arrived for work. Absurd? Of course. Another case of following procedures over a cliff. But never fear. The department is working on new procedures.

Welcome to America--and file under Death of Common Sense.