Skip to main content

Is Bieber getting out of control?

By Robert P. Mark
updated 5:28 PM EST, Fri February 7, 2014
<a href='http://www.nbcnews.com/news/investigations/flying-high-exclusive-inside-story-biebers-pot-plane-n22056' target='_blank'>NBC is reporting</a> that the pilots of a private jet that flew Justin Bieber from Canada to New Jersey recently were allegedly forced to wear oxygen masks because of the overwhelming marijuana smoke on board. Several celebrities have been open about their love of the whacky weed... NBC is reporting that the pilots of a private jet that flew Justin Bieber from Canada to New Jersey recently were allegedly forced to wear oxygen masks because of the overwhelming marijuana smoke on board. Several celebrities have been open about their love of the whacky weed...
HIDE CAPTION
Justin Bieber
Miley Cyrus
Snoop
Woody Harrelson
Cameron Diaz
Seth Rogen
Lady Gaga
Armie Hammer
Natalie Portman
Brad Pitt
Megan Fox
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Chace Crawford
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Justin Bieber and his entourage smoked pot a charter plane, says police report
  • Robert Mark: Bieber has been getting in trouble lately, but this is getting out of line
  • He says smoking marijuana on a flight could potentially have serious consequences
  • Mark: Thank goodness the pilots landed safely, but Bieber's behavior was risky

Editor's note: Robert P. Mark is a pilot, award-winning journalist and publisher of Jetwhine.com, a website about the aviation industry. He's been teaching people to fly since 1974. He also teaches at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and is author of the upcoming book, "Loss of Control."

(CNN) -- So, Justin Bieber has done something stupid again. This time, he made the headlines by allegedly smoking pot on a chartered airplane and being rude and verbally abusive to the crew on a flight to Teterboro Airport in New Jersey.

Is he just another rich teen idol blowing off a little testosterone? Sure. But seriously, his bad behavior is getting a bit out of control.

For those who may never have flown aboard a charter, think of it like a bigger, swankier limousine where the passengers in the back are pretty much free to do whatever they want.

Robert P. Mark
Robert P. Mark

In a regular airplane, the line in the sand is a bit clearer when it comes to passenger conduct. Unruly behavior is not tolerated on airlines like Delta or American Airlines. Get rowdy and obnoxious enough and most captains would tell the passengers they were landing the airplane at the nearest airport if they didn't calm down.

On the chartered airplane that carried Bieber, his father and 10 friends, the flight attendant was verbally abused so much so that she took refuge near the cockpit, according to a police report. The report also said that the captain asked the Beiber entourage more than once to stop smoking marijuana, but those demands were ignored.

Worried that the intoxicating fumes would eventually make their way to the cockpit, the pilots donned their emergency oxygen masks. Luckily, all went well and the airplane landed safely.

Source: Bieber filled jet with pot smoke

In the great rulebook of flying, this easily qualifies as interference with the flight crew. However, even though the plane was met by Customs agents and the police upon landing, and the cabin still smelled like marijuana, none of the crew members wanted to press charges. Who has the resources to sue a pop star who can hire the best lawyer money can buy?

Bieber got off easy in this incident. But it could have been a disaster.

What if the crew of the chartered jet, trying to be nice to this unruly bunch of well-paying customers, hadn't put on the oxygen masks? What if the fumes had gotten them high before they put on those masks? Instead of a bunch of crazies arguing with the flight crew, you could have a flight crew impaired as well.

Imagine a now-impaired flight crew approaching some of the busiest airspace in the world. Could they have managed to get the airplane down on the ground in one piece? Maybe. But maybe not, because when you're impaired your thinking is off.

Or, what if one of the passengers, already high as a kite, had wandered up front and distracted the pilots (chartered planes don't usually have the same secure doors as airliners) ... just enough that they missed an important radio call or failed to notice another nearby airplane? If you were on an airliner headed for Newark or LaGuardia, how would you feel knowing the guys in some nearby business jet are loopy? Or imagine if the airplane had slid off the runway during landing, or sailed through the airport fence because the crew wasn't really in control? The profit the charter company made carrying the Bieber entourage would not even cover the attorney's fees in a lawsuit.

The flight attendant on the flight said she'd never fly with these passengers again, and good for her. The charter company should never carry the Bieber entourage again, either, because these people don't belong in an airplane where they can hurt someone else.

Most captains I know would have put the safety of the crew, the passengers and the people on the ground above everything else. Should any company fly Bieber after this? I hope not, but a wealthy pop star usually gets his way.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Robert P. Mark.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 12:26 PM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
The death of Douglas McAuthur McCain, the first American killed fighting for ISIS, highlights the pull of Syria's war for Western jihadists, writes Peter Bergen.
updated 6:42 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Former ambassador to Syria Robert Ford says the West should be helping moderates in the Syrian armed opposition end the al-Assad regime and form a government to focus on driving ISIS out
updated 9:21 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says a great country does not deport thousands of vulnerable, unaccompanied minors who fled in fear for their lives
updated 9:19 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Robert McIntyre says Congress is the culprit for letting Burger King pay lower taxes after merging with Tim Hortons.
updated 7:35 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Wesley Clark says the U.S. can offer support to its Islamic friends in the region most threatened by ISIS, but it can't fight their war
updated 7:26 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Jeff Yang says the tech sector's diversity numbers are embarrassing and the big players need to do more.
updated 4:53 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
America's painful struggle with racism has often brought great satisfaction to the country's rivals, critics, and foes. The killing of Michael Brown and its tumultuous aftermath has been a bonanza.
updated 4:19 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Ed Bark says in this Emmy year, broadcasters CBS, ABC and PBS can all say they matched or exceeded HBO. These days that's no small feat
updated 3:19 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Rick Martin says the death of Robin Williams brought back memories of his own battle facing down depression as a young man
updated 11:58 AM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
David Perry asks: What's the best way for police officers to handle people with psychiatric disabilities?
updated 3:50 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Julian Zelizer says it's not crazy to think Mitt Romney would be able to end up at the top of the GOP ticket in 2016
updated 4:52 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Roxanne Jones and her girlfriends would cheer from the sidelines for the boys playing Little League. But they really wanted to play. Now Mo'ne Davis shows the world that girls really can throw.
updated 12:29 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider say a YouTube video apparently posted by ISIS seems to show that the group has a surveillance drone, highlighting a new reality: Terrorist groups have technology once only used by states
updated 5:04 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Kimberly Norwood is a black mom who lives in an affluent neighborhood not far from Ferguson, but she has the same fears for her children as people in that troubled town do
updated 5:45 PM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
It apparently has worked for France, say Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider, but carries uncomfortable risks. When it comes to kidnappings, nations face grim options.
updated 1:27 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
John Bare says the Ice Bucket Challenge signals a new kind of activism and peer-to-peer fund-raising.
updated 8:31 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
James Dawes says calling ISIS evil over and over again could very well make it harder to stop them.
updated 9:05 PM EDT, Sat August 23, 2014
As the inquiry into the shooting of Michael Brown continues, critics question the prosecutor's impartiality.
updated 6:47 PM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
Newt Gingrich says it's troubling that a vicious group like ISIS can recruit so many young men from Britain.
updated 10:50 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
David Weinberger says Twitter and other social networks have been vested with a responsibility, and a trust, they did not ask for.
updated 7:03 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
John Inazu says the slogan "We are Ferguson" is meant to express empathy and solidarity. It's not true: Not all of us live in those circumstances. But we all made them.
updated 8:23 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
Retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling says he learned that the territory ISIS wants to control is amazingly complex.
updated 3:51 PM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Cerue Garlo says Liberia is desperate for help amid a Ebola outbreak that has touched every aspect of life.
updated 1:42 PM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Eric Liu says Republicans who want to restrict voting may win now, but the party will suffer in the long term.
updated 11:38 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Jay Parini: Jesus, Pope and now researchers agree: Wealth decreases our ability to sympathize with the poor.
updated 8:00 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Judy Melinek offers a medical examiner's perspective on what happens when police kill people like Michael Brown.
updated 6:03 PM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
It used to be billy clubs, fire hoses and snarling German shepherds. Now it's armored personnel carriers and flash-bang grenades, writes Kara Dansky.
updated 1:27 PM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Maria Haberfeld: People who are unfamiliar with police work can reasonably ask, why was an unarmed man shot so many times, and why was deadly force used at all?
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT