Airplanes have problems every day. They lose parts, they lose pressure, they get into strange mechanical situations where smoke or fumes are seen or smelled. It happened the other day to Continental, which had a 737 flying from Houston to Washington. Somewhere east of Houston, the plane's pressurization dropped, the pilots decided to go down, and Flight 458 made an unscheduled or emergency landing in New Orleans, about 300 miles east of Houston. No big deal? Well, no. BIG DEAL.
The plane had seven Members of Congress on aboard, members of the House who had chosen the 1:05 pm departure from Houston's Bush Intercontinental because it gets to Washington Reagan at 5-ish - just in time for Members to get to the floor of the House for the 6:30 pm votes that are often scheduled for the first working day of the working week. (No comments on the Congressional workload, please.)