Skip to main content

Is Bieber getting out of control?

By Robert P. Mark
February 7, 2014 -- Updated 2228 GMT (0628 HKT)
<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
July 9, 2014 -- Updated 2047 GMT (0447 HKT)
World War I ushered in an era of chemical weapons use that inflicted agonizing injury and death. Its lethal legacy lingers into conflicts today, Paul Schulte says
July 9, 2014 -- Updated 2153 GMT (0553 HKT)
Mel Robbins says many people think there's "something suspicious" about Leanna Harris. But there are other interpretations of her behavior
July 9, 2014 -- Updated 2006 GMT (0406 HKT)
Newt Gingrich warns that President Obama's border plan spends too much and doesn't do what is needed
July 9, 2014 -- Updated 1753 GMT (0153 HKT)
Amy Bass says Germany's rout of Brazil on its home turf was brutal, but in defeat the Brazilian fans' respect for the victors showed why soccer is called 'the beautiful game'
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 1754 GMT (0154 HKT)
Errol Lewis says if it really wants to woo black voters away from the Democrats, the GOP better get behind its black candidates
July 9, 2014 -- Updated 2107 GMT (0507 HKT)
Aaron Carroll explains how vaccines can prevent illnesses like measles, which are on the rise
July 9, 2014 -- Updated 0008 GMT (0808 HKT)
Aaron Miller says if you think the ongoing escalation between Israel and Hamas over Gaza will force a moment of truth, better think again
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 2241 GMT (0641 HKT)
Martin Luther King Jr. fought and died so blacks would no longer be viewed as inferior but rather enjoy the same inherent rights given to whites in America.
July 9, 2014 -- Updated 1147 GMT (1947 HKT)
Alex Castellanos says recent low approval ratings spell further trouble for the President
July 9, 2014 -- Updated 0349 GMT (1149 HKT)
Paul Begala says Boehner's plan to sue Obama may be a stunt for the tea party, or he may be hoping the Supreme Court's right wing will advance the GOP agenda that he could not
July 6, 2014 -- Updated 1659 GMT (0059 HKT)
The rapture is a bizarre teaching in fundamentalist circles, made up by a 19th-century theologian, says Jay Parini. It may have no biblical validity, but is a really entertaining plot device in new HBO series
July 7, 2014 -- Updated 1749 GMT (0149 HKT)
Ruben Navarrette: President Obama needs to send U.S. marshals to protect relocating immigrant kids.
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 1903 GMT (0303 HKT)
Norman Matloff says a secret wage theft pact between Google, Apple and others highlights ethics problems in Silicon Valley.
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 2237 GMT (0637 HKT)
The mother of murdered Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khder cries as she meets Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, West Bank on July 7, 2014.
Naseem Tuffaha says the killing of Israeli teenagers has rightly brought the world's condemnation, but Palestinian victims like his cousin's slain son have been largely reduced to faceless, nameless statistics.
July 9, 2014 -- Updated 2028 GMT (0428 HKT)
Danny Cevallos says charging the dad in the hot car death case with felony murder, predicated on child neglect, was a smart strategic move.
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 1326 GMT (2126 HKT)
Van Jones says our nation is sitting on a goldmine of untapped talent. The tech companies need jobs, young Latinos and blacks need jobs -- so how about a training pipeline?
July 7, 2014 -- Updated 1309 GMT (2109 HKT)
A drug that holds hope in the battle against hepatitis C costs $1,000 per pill. We can't solve a public health crisis when drug makers charge such exorbitant prices, Karen Ignagni says.
July 7, 2014 -- Updated 1133 GMT (1933 HKT)
Julian Zelizer says our political environment is filled with investigations or accusations of another scandal; all have their roots in the scandal that brought down Richard Nixon
July 6, 2014 -- Updated 1814 GMT (0214 HKT)
Sally Kohn says Boehner's lawsuit threat is nonsense that wastes taxpayer money, distracts from GOP's failure to pass laws to help Americans
July 7, 2014 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Speaker John Boehner says President Obama has circumvented Congress with his executive actions and plans on filing suit against the President this month
July 7, 2014 -- Updated 1331 GMT (2131 HKT)
Hands down, it's 'Hard Day's Night,' says Gene Seymour-- the exhilarating, anarchic and really fun big screen debut for the Beatles. It's 50 years old this weekend
July 2, 2014 -- Updated 2201 GMT (0601 HKT)
Belinda Davis says World War I plunged millions of women across the globe into "men's jobs," even as they kept home and hearth. The legacy continues into today.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1824 GMT (0224 HKT)
Pablo Alvarado says all the children trying to cross the U.S. border shows immigration is a humanitarian crisis that can't be solved with soldiers and handcuffs.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
Elizabeth Mitchell says Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi dreamt up the symbolic colossus not for money, but to embody a concept--an artwork to amaze for its own sake. Would anyone do that today?
July 2, 2014 -- Updated 1601 GMT (0001 HKT)
Wendy Townsend says Jamaica sold two protected islands to China for a huge seaport, which could kill off a rare iguana and hurt ecotourism.
ADVERTISEMENT