With all the players involved in the sordid debacle that was the McCain-Palin campaign, there’s one character that has only been discussed peripherally, despite being one of the hardest workers of the campaign. I speak of the campaign jet. Now, there’s nothing to say that this jet was Republican by nature. Really, if you think about it, it was just an unwitting victim of the political madness.
Minding its own business, and with no powers of self-determination, the JetBlue aircraft was hijacked, if you will, from its normal life, tattooed with a giant blue McCain-Palin logo, and subjected to a gruelling personal schedule. Covering dozens of states and tens of thousands of miles in a few short weeks, the poor campaign jet was forced to haul Sarah Palin, her extended family, the press, the Truth Squad, and untold tonnage of newly acquired wardrobe.
Little did I know, as I stood there in the dark, freezing to death at the Sarah Palin Welcome Home event, that the campaign plane from which Sarah and her entourage disembarked, was about to make history. I was standing next to a future world record holder.
The record flight came Thursday as the E190 was being returned to JetBlue from the McCain-Palin campaign, which had chartered the aircraft. The plane had been ferrying vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin around the USA, and earlier this week returned Palin and her family to their home state of Alaska.
In a message to employees on the company’s intranet, JetBlue says “aircraft 239, the McCain-Palin charter jet, set a new record by jetting from Anchorage, to Buffalo nonstop. At 2,694 nautical miles, this was the longest E190 flight ever operated by any airline on the planet!”
“Flight 4500 took off from Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport at 11:23 a.m. (Alaska time) and landed some 6 hours and 11 minutes later, at 9:34 p.m. (ET), at Buffalo Niagara International Airport. This ultra-long segment was the first leg of the aircraft’s return to JFK and its eventual return to scheduled service in the coming days,” JetBlue adds on its intranet.
Relieved of its oppressive burden of Palin family, staff, press, and seventeen brand new suitcases crammed full of Neiman Marcus goodies, the beleaguered campaign jet finally cast off its shackles, and flew free. The record setting journey ends with a well-deserved aeronautic exfoliating spa treatment of sorts, in which our little friend will have the McCain Palin tattoo scraped off its hull. What’s next for the survivor? Its normal non-partisan routine will begin soon, and the McCain-Palin campaign will be but a distant memory. Hopefully our hero will move forward unscathed to lead a normal life.
Had I been prophetic the other night, I would have given the poor thing a snappy farewell salute, and imagined it soaring off into the frigid arctic night thinking, “Free at last! Free at last….”