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[UPDATE] Romney Airplane Window ‘Gaffe’ was Joke, Reporter Says

See the update to this story below.

I guess Mitt Romney wasn’t a big fan of The Twilight Zone.

One of the episodes that’s about midway up the list of my favorite episodes was called “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.” It starred William Shatner as a nervous man who’s recovering from a recent mental breakdown who sees a monster on the wing of an airplane and tries to convince everyone else that it’s there. Naturally, he’s the only one who sees it, which leads his wife to the reasonable conclusion that the stress of the storm they’re flying through and his own paranoia is what is making him seem so irrational.

The episode was remade a segment of The Twilight Zone: The Movie, and the role of the nervous, yet determined air traveler was brilliantly played by John Lithgow.

What both takes on the story have in common is that in a desperate attempt to protect the plane from the destructive monster that’s trying to damage the engines in midair, the nervous man breaks the airplane window and tries to shoot the monster with a gun he steals from an armed official who’s allowed to carry a weapon aboard a plane.

As soon as he does so, he’s nearly sucked out of the plane when the cabin depressurizes.

It’s a plot device that appears in a variety of plane-related disaster movies. Because when you’re flying at 30,000+ feet, the air is thinner. A depressurized cabin is the whole reason behind those little oxygen masks we get lectured about every time we board a plane, though fortunately we never see during an actual flight.

I guess Mitt Romney never listens to the safety lecture or ponders why one would need oxygen in an airplane, either.

Why else would he seriously question why, in the event of a fire aboard a plane, passengers wouldn’t have the option of opening the windows?

No matter how much successful a businessman he is, no matter how skillful a politician he may be, can he really have so little common sense as to believe that the option of being able to open windows in mid-flight is not only a good idea but one that needs to be explored?

It’s such a ridiculously shocking blunder that I wonder how anyone could make it. If he wins the Presidency, I may never board a plane again.

UPDATE: Fortunately, it now appears that Romney was joking about the window thing. Though it wasn’t expressly represented as a joke in the pool report from the event, it was clearly presented as a joke, according to the reporter who wrote the pool report and at least one other person who attended and heard the audience’s reaction. We can now breathe a sigh of relief that no one is calling for a roll-down option for airplane windows. Carry on accordingly.


  1. Not a knock on Romney, but your piece made me ask a different question: has he EVER flown with a normal crew on a flight? Maybe if he’s never flown in a regular commercial cabin then he’s never seen the schpiel – honestly, that’s the only thing I can think of that almost makes sense. Not quite, but almost.

    1. @TedtheThird I didn’t say he hasn’t. But this was BEYOND silly. I shouldn’t need to hunt Obama quotes to talk about this one.

    2. @TedtheThird And if I pointed out a silly Obama quote, would you have been as quick to suggest Romney missteps, too? #FairAndBalanced

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.