Rep. Ron Estes and his wife, Susan, gave up their seats on a Friday night flight to Wichita so the rest of the passengers could take off, according to a local executive who was on the flight.
“Some politicians feel privileged,” said Jeff Roth, vice president of Wichita-based Chance Rides. “It was nice to see them (the Esteses) concerned for the rest of us. I thought it was admirable.”
Roth said he especially appreciated the gesture because he’d already been stranded a full day waiting out storms that were raging around the Midwest on Thursday night and early Friday.
He said he met the 4th District congressman for the first time while waiting to board the flight Friday evening at O’Hare Airport in Chicago.
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The flight was booked solid with “two days’ worth of people” because of the earlier weather delays and cancellations, he said.
But after the passengers had settled into their seats, the pilot came on the intercom and announced he couldn’t take off because the commuter jet was overweight due to excess baggage in the hold. He asked for three volunteers to take a late-night flight instead, Roth said.
After the announcement, the Esteses stood up, gathered their carry-on luggage and left the plane. The third volunteer was a woman he didn’t recognize, Roth said.
Roth said he was so impressed that he wrote a letter to The Eagle praising Estes.
“I for one looked on with pride and respect, especially given these days in Washington,” Roth wrote in the letter.
Niether Ron nor Susan Estes could be reached for comment late Monday, according to Estes’ congressional office.