Flight NW0042 from Amsterdam to Mumbai is perhaps one of the best-known symbols of the Flat World, at least for the thousands of Indians who have had occasion to take it as the home leg of their return to India from their temporary or permanent bases in the United States. It can be a noisy flight on the Amsterdam-Mumbai leg, with caterwauling children, tired passengers, and not very good food.
Things seem to have been a bit more out of sync on the Wednesday flight. The pilot, while over German airspace soon after taking off from Amsterdam, requested permission to return, and also asked for a military escort. In short order, two Dutch F-16s showed up to escort the plane back to Schiphol airport. Not much details are available yet, but it appears at least seven passengers have been detained for questioning. The threat level has not been raised, and a spokesperson for the Dutch National Terrorism Coordinator termed it a 'light threat'. The flight has been cancelled.
An Iberian Airlines flight was turned back to Amsterdam in April, and last year, a British Airways flight had the same experience. Tensions are fraught in the skies after the recent bomb plot at Heathrow, and no one is evidently taking any chances. The Washington Post reports on recent incidents,
Several alerts have been sounded since the terrorism plot was outlined in London. On Friday, a British plane made an emergency landing in southern Italy after a bomb scare, and the U.S. Air Force scrambled jets to escort a United Airlines flight from London to Washington as it was diverted to Boston.
There are no reports of the in-flight movie having been Snakes on a Plane