On the Plane

Safety First, Even for the Press Corps

BUCHAREST, Romania -- It's always something. First the hotels, now the plane.

The White House press charter that ferries journalists, presidential staff and Secret Service agents whenever the president travels has been grounded.

The chartered jumbo jet is one of the 52 Boeing-777 aircraft that United Airlines ordered out of service today until it can inspect them for possible problems with the fire suppression systems in the cargo holds. The jet is currently here in Bucharest, where President Bush is attending a NATO summit that opens tonight.

United is scrambling to find a way to inspect the plane quickly to avoid messing up the president's European trip, possibly by dispatching inspectors here to Bucharest or maybe flying the plane somewhere else for a quick check and sending it right back. Fortunately for everyone, Bush is on the ground here for another couple days before heading to Zagreb, Croatia, on Friday and then Sochi, Russia on Saturday. That should be enough time to get the plane checked out and back ready for service in time for Bush's departure.

Still, maybe we should buy some fire extinguishers just to be sure.

-- Peter Baker

By washingtonpost.com Editors |  April 2, 2008; 1:50 PM ET  | Trip:  Bush in Eastern Europe, April 2008
Previous: Sweating for Peace | Next: Overseas Travel Keeps Bush Off Stride


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Maybe miniature fire extinguishers, like mace sprays.

Posted by: Sunny | April 2, 2008 3:50 PM

You probably would not care to know what portion of the populace would happily consign most of the mainstream media to Romania.

Posted by: Ross Compton | April 2, 2008 3:53 PM

Perhaps they will learn how to further refine their journalistic biases from the old guard in Romania!

Posted by: Howard Ino | April 2, 2008 4:04 PM

Why should the White House press corps get such first class treatment while the rest of the flying public is stuck at airports trying to arrange alternative flights? IMO, they can stay in Roumania for the rest of their wretched lives and treat us with stories about the merits of the local wine, and the hookers that inhabit the hotels there.

Posted by: observer | April 2, 2008 4:19 PM

So the liberal media is stuck in a former Soviet Republic.

Help me understand why we should be concerned.

Posted by: Ben | April 2, 2008 4:19 PM

These red reporters should play a basketball game in a Romanian minefield.

Posted by: Shemp | April 2, 2008 4:29 PM

Wasn't Vlad the blood sucking vampire from Romania? Birds of a feather.......

Posted by: alex | April 2, 2008 4:39 PM

I feel their pain. LOL

Posted by: Nathan Detroit | April 2, 2008 5:00 PM

The local bars bear the Bucharest airport are going to have one of their most profitable days ever!

Posted by: Joe | April 2, 2008 5:02 PM


Posted by: Cliff Gerald | April 2, 2008 5:09 PM

Romania was never a Soviet Republic, although it was part of the Warsaw Pact.

Posted by: Bill G | April 2, 2008 5:11 PM

How did we all get so cynical and dismissive of journalists and industry? I'm not stupid, I can give you a bunch of answers but do the origins lie with us, and if so why? or with journalists and industry and why? or are they equally shared?

These few comments sound like we are sick to death of everything. If so, how can this be fixed? This attitude and/or reality can't be good for our country or our collective mental health. Who has let us down so much that we don't believe anyone or have we let ourselves down?

Posted by: Barbara Blanton | April 2, 2008 5:16 PM

So wait just a second. It's evil, irresponsible, and immoral for an airline to fly from the USA to the UK with a handful of passengers, but it's ok to fly an empty plane from Romania to god-knows where just to make sure the plane is safe? Somehow I think that if it was a planeload of oil company executives, we might be hearing a different tune. But since it's reporters, let's spare no expense! Since they are an unbiased observer the media can't be expected walk the walk. It's not THEIR global warming problem. It's everyone ELSE'S problem.

Posted by: Justin | April 2, 2008 5:21 PM

What always scares me is this kind of "looksee" in a distant country could provide a covert agent planting a bomb. Just what we need a a time like this.

Posted by: john smith | April 2, 2008 5:37 PM

For all I or most people care, they can stay "grounded" in Romania and they can have the old troll Helen Thomas as a parting gift...

Posted by: Liberalismisamentaldisorder | April 2, 2008 5:45 PM

fire extinguishers? hard to find those in the 4oz size.

Posted by: ha | April 2, 2008 5:58 PM

Leave them there.

Posted by: LDC | April 2, 2008 6:04 PM

Watch out for Cheney and his shotgun. We all know how he feels about you liberal journalists

Posted by: Miami Boy | April 2, 2008 6:12 PM

Most of the traveling public know that we have a third world airline system in the US run by high paid executives who don't care for their customers. Maybe the media can now get some changes to our airline system like a passanger bill of rights. SOMRTHING MUST BE DONE Washington seem incapable of helping the airline passenger.

Posted by: Kal London | April 2, 2008 6:13 PM

Free health care. that sounds like a socialist paradise to me.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 2, 2008 6:18 PM

Hmmm - United Airlines outsources over 45 percent of their aircraft maintenance - wonder how that's working for them?

Posted by: Denise | April 2, 2008 6:23 PM

Liberal journalists and their bias commentaries will be "miss" . They have a chance to spill their venom in Romania.

Posted by: Daniel | April 2, 2008 6:26 PM

I'm very sorry that Romania may have to contend with these folks any longer than they have too.

Posted by: Duke N | April 2, 2008 6:42 PM

Cute comment about Helen Thomas. Didn't realize she's still alive!

Posted by: sc osprey | April 2, 2008 6:48 PM

Too bad, all the good comments have already been written...I too, feel that these people from the press corp won't be missed.

Aunty M

Posted by: Mabel Rockwell | April 2, 2008 6:51 PM

Liberal Media? Red reporters? Its the white house press corp. Come on people, pull your heads out of your asses and stop acting more like parrots than people. Repeating the rhetoric of your favorate radio personality is NOT what politics is about.

Posted by: Jer | April 2, 2008 7:51 PM

Wow ! There are so many great comments to this story. The truth is that George Bush called his evil Counter part Dick Cheney. Dick Cheney than used the Patriot Act to hack into United's database and put the plane on the inspection list. When they fly it to another location for inspection, it will be really diverted to pick up terrorists in an illegal and unknown prison. The plane will then fly them to another secret location prison before being inspected. On the way back, the plane will fly over the North Pole numerous times to add to the Global Warming "problem". It will then release some fuel into the ocean to help kill ocean life and finally fly back to pick up the reporters to take them to the next stop. When they take off for their next stop Bush and Cheney will be linked up by satellite laughing it up with their "cronies" at the reaction of the reporters if they knew the "truth" about the travels of their plane. That EVIL BUSH !!!!!! God I do wish he could stay another 4 years. I would feel so much better. Thanks for the 8 years GWB.

Posted by: KGBjr | April 2, 2008 8:22 PM

It must be really slow news day.

Posted by: roxnne1963 | April 2, 2008 8:39 PM

The Caeucescu's and the US mainstream media......perfect together. They should both end up in the same place.

Posted by: TYM | April 2, 2008 8:56 PM

Liberal Media? Red reporters? Its the white house press corp. Come on people, pull your heads out of your asses and stop acting more like parrots than people.

Oh. The White House Press Corps. Why didn't you say so. Ahhhmm. Is David Gregory on that plane? I hope the inspecters take their time because most of the reports filed by them are embarrassingly shallow and lack independant research. I know I won't miss most of them for a couple of weeks.

Posted by: Dave | April 2, 2008 9:17 PM

Keep the plane grounded and the press corps in Romania -- for the next six months. Then maybe we can all get some relief from their continual whining.

Posted by: Patrick Curry | April 2, 2008 9:51 PM

Hey commenters; you get it; maybe it is the right wing conspiracy; maybe Bush doesn't want any negative stories; so he is sabotaging the press' plane. No newsies; no news!!!

Posted by: Spin Cycle | April 2, 2008 9:56 PM

Peter: How about I break some news to you? NO ONE CARES about the Washington media elite. You are less interesting to the public than you seem to think. Stick to covering our elected leaders, which is what you are supposed to be doing.

Posted by: Dar | April 2, 2008 10:12 PM

The press following our leaders and diplomats can all crash in flames. Aside from that, our airlines are terrible. Just awful really, this guy knew what he was in for two days ago though. Grin and bear it Post whiner, I don't like you. You're just unhappy because there is no scoop in Romania. Do what I would do, enjoy the people the society and history of these great people. Punk.

Posted by: David in USA | April 2, 2008 11:00 PM

How does this measure up to Boeing losing the Air Force tanker contract to Northrup Grumman and EADS? Is this a comment on providing a quality product?

Posted by: Wash | April 2, 2008 11:10 PM

I can't even add anything to this--these posts are just about all classic!

Posted by: ECM | April 2, 2008 11:21 PM

Leave them their. If in 6 months someone notices them missing, send the plane back to get them

Posted by: Felix | April 2, 2008 11:22 PM

How did this happen in the first place? I assume they'd use a different plane if it came down to it.

Posted by: Bob | April 2, 2008 11:44 PM

INTERESTING.... Of all people, the white house press is grounded and cannot leave ....ROMANIA??? Bush is hiding something

Posted by: Louisville | April 3, 2008 1:12 AM

Yikes. What is it with the snarkiness? People contributing to this site clearly READ the papers, so consume the products of the journalists they are trashing -- which argues there is t least some value to the press corps traveling with the President.

Posted by: CA | April 3, 2008 2:20 AM

You Romanians sound bitter, no wonder your lettuce always suck.

Posted by: Matt | April 3, 2008 2:25 AM

This is news?

Posted by: Me | April 3, 2008 2:37 AM

require the white house press to remain in ROMANIA for an unspecfied period of time.

i prefer LIFE!

Posted by: deroy | April 3, 2008 2:53 AM

I only wish these so called journalists could be forced to read these comments. How much clearer can we be to make them fully understand how much we absolutely DESPISE them. I hope the plane is stuck there for weeks or longer. They should have to fly back commercially at their expense, not the taxpayers.

Posted by: Snarky | April 3, 2008 6:35 AM

Journalism is a line of work without a code of conduct, guidelines for performance, or a code of ethics. Other lines of work, what I call the professions, have these things (engineering, medicine, plumbing, etc.)so journalism is not really a profession. It is a like of work like driving the street cleaning machine.

Posted by: Karl | April 3, 2008 7:27 AM

i live in romania, and let me tell you, the news here can only get better! it would be a nice change from having continued, uninterrupted coverage of some farmer trying to lug his horse out of a ditch.

Posted by: Sara | April 3, 2008 7:50 AM

It is just, well, maybe not how many ill comments/misinformation about Romania is posted here! Why don't you all travel there and see (reading I beleive is out of question)!

Posted by: EuLupu | April 3, 2008 7:58 AM

Void their passports.

Posted by: LDC | April 3, 2008 8:10 AM

Maybe they'll seek asylum?

Posted by: BlueMax372 | April 3, 2008 8:11 AM

I can reveal here to the Romanian gov't that correspondent Helen Thomas, now in your country, is a CIA operative (this I was told by former Asst. Sec of State Richard Armatige, not Libby) sent to your country by Valerie Plame to steal all your most closely guarded secrets through her charm, wit and guile. So, you may keep her for a later exchange of spys. Maybe. Or, maybe no exchange. Ever.

Posted by: LDC | April 3, 2008 8:32 AM

"uninterrupted coverage of some farmer trying to lug his horse out of a ditch"

You mean the Hillary campaign.

Posted by: Karl | April 3, 2008 8:35 AM

Ben, you stupid ass ! Romania was never a Soviet Republic. If I give you a map of the world can you find the USA ? I guess not !

Posted by: Vasile Ion | April 3, 2008 9:20 AM

Hey guys, thanks for all the fun comments. Just one quick clarification -- someone said the press should have to fly at our own expense, not taxpayer expense. Just so you know, we do. We pay for the plane and all our other expenses. Thanks, Peter Baker

Posted by: Peter Baker | April 3, 2008 10:01 AM

Love the comments, all so true. I can't believe the is a WAPO board. Normally all the comments be ultra left mindless drool.

Posted by: who cares | April 3, 2008 10:17 AM

Nice postings! Don't worry Peter, if they cannot fix it in time I'll give you a lift by car to Croatia, it only takes like 11 hours, but you'll get to see also a piece of southern Transilvania. Just let me know tomorrow. :)

Posted by: filip | April 3, 2008 10:51 AM

I'm sure they will enjoy the break from having to deal with Monkey Boy and his Circus Clowns. I wonder if "fair and Balanced" FAUX News had to stay behind too. Perhaps that idiot Steve Doucey will find a way to compmlain about this being a liberal conspiracy created by Obama.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2008 1:57 PM

Among the many good laugh envoking comments here is the question for Boeing,
which ceases to be funny, as Boeing is
still whinning to congress over the lost
USAF Tanker Contract>>

How does this measure up to Boeing losing the Air Force tanker contract to Northrup Grumman and EADS? Is this a comment on providing a quality product?

Posted by: Wash | April 2, 2008 11:10 PM
Message for Boeing: Suck it up, tighten
your belt and get over it. Stop insulting
the USAF and DOD for choosing the best tanker, at the best price. I have sent
this message to my two US Senators and one
Memmber of Congress.

Posted by: Ed Hensley | April 4, 2008 2:02 PM

Romania is a latin country which lies between Hungary and Moldova and has nothing to do with Russia.
Romania came out of communism almost 20 years ago just like other countries in Eastern Europe.Romania is part of the European Union in case asstards like Ben don't know.
The only thing Romanians can be blamed for if that they rely too much on american support and forget that in 1945 when they expected the american troops to rescue them from the russian occupation they got bullets from the american pilots ....

Posted by: claudiu iordache | April 8, 2008 10:00 AM

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