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 4:47 PM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Jim Bell says NASA's latest discovery support the notion that habitable worlds are probably common in the galaxy.
updated 2:17 PM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Jay Parini says even the Gospels skip the actual Resurrection and are sketchy on the appearances that followed.
updated 1:52 PM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Graham Allison says if an unchecked and emboldened Russia foments conflict in a nation like Latvia, a NATO member, the West would have to defend it.
updated 9:11 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
John Sutter: Bad news, guys -- the pangolin we adopted is missing.
updated 1:10 PM EDT, Sat April 19, 2014
Ben Wildavsky says we need a better way to determine whether colleges are turning out graduates with superior education and abilities.
updated 6:26 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Charles Maclin, program manager working on the search and recovery of Malaysia Flight 370, explains how it works.
updated 8:50 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Jill Koyama says Michael Bloomberg is right to tackle gun violence, but we need to go beyond piecemeal state legislation.
updated 2:45 PM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
Michael Bloomberg and Shannon Watts say Americans are ready for sensible gun laws, but politicians are cowed by the NRA. Everytown for Gun Safety will prove the NRA is not that powerful.
updated 9:28 AM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says Steve Israel is right: Some Republicans encourage anti-Latino prejudice. But that kind of bias is not limited to the GOP.
updated 7:23 PM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Peggy Drexler counts the ways Phyllis Schlafly's argument that lower pay for women helps them nab a husband is ridiculous.
updated 12:42 PM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Rick McGahey says Rep. Paul Ryan is signaling his presidential ambitions by appealing to hard core Republican values
updated 11:39 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Paul Saffo says current Google Glasses are doomed to become eBay collectibles, but they are only the leading edge of a surge in wearable tech that will change our lives
updated 2:49 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Kathleen Blee says the KKK and white power or neo-Nazi groups give haters the purpose and urgency to use violence.
updated 7:56 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Rep. Henry Waxman say read deep, and you'll see the federal Keystone pipeline report spells out the pipeline is bad news
updated 7:53 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Frida Ghitis says President Obama needs to stop making empty threats against Russia and consider other options
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT