Media over-dramatizes plane Incident; DeLuga gives inside look

By: Khrystyna Halatyma
Features Editor
Scott DeLuga, husband of Prospect’s English and Fine Arts Division Head Erin DeLuga, was supposed to land at Chicago O’Hare Airport at 3:30 p.m., but Erin DeLuga got a phone call from him at 2:20 p.m., while he was supposed to be in the air she was concerned, but said he was very calm.
Continental flight 546 was on its’ way from Houston to Chicago on May 8.  Nothing was out of the ordinary until 20 minutes into the flight when 34 year old Reynel C. Alcaid tried to evacuate the plane by opening a jet way door and jumping out. Erin DeLuga’s husband, was on the plane with his brother, Rick DeLuga.

“Of course, we both joke around a lot, so [after I knew he was okay] I said, ‘Hey, do you know [if] your life insurance polices are in order?’ and he was like, ‘are you kidding me?’ So we joked about that.” Erin DeLuga said.

DeLuga and his brother were visiting Houston for their nephew’s first communion. Erin DeLuga and their two-year-old  daughter Aubrey, were also both planning on flying to Houston for her niece’s first communion.
Security at Houston Airport was thorough, including body searches. Scott DeLuga first felt something was wrong when the flight attendant came on over the speaker and said the plane was going to have an emergency landing in St.Louis.
“At first [when he called], I thought he was kidding, but then I realized, no, he’s not.” said Erin DeLuga. “I suppose, a situation like this could really upset someone, because [he] was so calm about it, I felt pretty assured.”
Being a frequent flier for his job at Discover Financial, DeLuga thought a passenger had a heart attack or passed away.
Before that, there was no crazy commotion or chaos, the only distressing part was not knowing what was going on. Scott DeLuga was sitting in row 30D, in the back of the plane, so he couldn’t see too much of what was going on in first class, where the incident had taken place. When Alcais tried to open the jet way door, a flight attendant and two other passengers, including an army veteran, tackled and after Alcais was sustained, everyone on board started clapping.
After the plane landed in St.Louis, the police came on board and took Alcais off the plane. Only then were the passengers told what happened. They were also given the chance to leave the plane and get on another flight.
Scott DeLuga was glad his wife and daughter had not been on the plane, he says it would have added another level of stress to the situation. It was easier knowing they were safe at home.
“[When] I came home and watched the news, [the reporters] made it seem much more traumatic than what really happened,” Scott DeLuga said. “It wasn’t like on the movies when everybody was screaming and everyone was going to die because nobody knew what was going on. The plane didn’t just immediately drop out of the sky, it wasn’t like we were at 37,000ft [high] and we were on the ground 30 seconds later.”