Well, those poor sods over at Delta who landed their B767 (with 193 aboard) on (active) taxiway M at ATL after being cleared to land on runway 27R in the pre-dawn of October 19 sure had one thing going for them -- what the pilots at Northwest were about to do on October 21 to trump them. But did they?
I know which event the major news outlets found more egregious, but for my dollar I'll take landing between the blue lights before oversleeping ... or being placed in a sleep-like state by your laptop (whatever). And, frankly, I'm not entirely clear on how the pilots at Northwest managed to so decisively steal Delta's thunder. Is going NORDO at 37,000 feet and flying 144 passengers 150 miles past MSP in an A320 really a bigger deal than planting a 767 on an active taxiway in the dark at the busiest (albeit, sometimes the second busiest) airport in the country? Since when did doing something dangerous fall below being irresponsible? Eh, what do I know... .
I know this much. It sure shut up those pilots at Northwest who were yacking in cyberspace about how you'd never see one of their own make the kind of mistakes the Delta pilots (Delta absorbed Northwest about a year ago) made at ATL. Gotta give it to them. They were right.
Kudos to all. When the spotlight's on -- with Washington focussed on crew rest and training -- the gents at the majors really know how to make the most of it.