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My Minute of News: How a crowded flight restored my faith in humanity

Hundreds of people gather outside the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021. The Taliban declared an “amnesty” across Afghanistan and urged women to join their government Tuesday, seeking to convince a wary population that they have changed a day after deadly chaos gripped the main airport as desperate crowds tried to flee the country. (AP Photo)

This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom. 

KABUL, Afghanistan — Chances are you’ve been on a crowded flight. No space in the overhead bin. Crying babies. Bathroom lines.

From the moment you boop your phone on the ticket reader to the moment you raise your tray table it’s annoying.

But Friends, these are first world problems.

Because today we’re seeing exactly what a crowded flight REALLY looks like.

Take a look at this picture.

crowded afghanistan flight

Afghan citizens pack inside a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III, as they are transported from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021. The Taliban on Sunday swept into Kabul, the Afghan capital, after capturing most of Afghanistan. (Capt. Chris Herbert/U.S. Air Force via AP)

It’s the interior of a giant C-17 Cargo jet taking off from Kabul on Sunday.  You can try to count the people on THIS crowded flight, but I’ll save you the trouble: The Air Force says there were 640 Afghans in this plane.

Crowded flight of desperate Afghans seek refuge

In the chaos on the tarmac, these desperate Afghans saw an open cargo ramp and scampered inside the plane.   They sat down on the floor.  No seats.  No seat belts.

When YOU get on a crowded flight and every seat’s taken, there are probably 200 people shoehorned in. This was 640 people who left the Air Force Flight crew with a decision to make:

Take off with 100,000 pounds of people on board? Or remove them?

This is a military radio transmission.

You can only hear one side of the conversation, but this is when the ground crew learned what was happening.

The pilot guessed that he had 800 aboard, but there was no time for a headcount.

That C-17 lit its mighty jets and took off without incident. The flight landed safely in Doha 3 hours later.

640 souls de-planed with nothing but the shirts on their back, and a future as refugees. But safe from the Taliban thanks to the brave efforts of an Air Force flight crew.

“My Minute of News” airs weekdays 3 to 7 p.m. during Jeff Caplan’s Afternoon News on KSL NewsRadio. 

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