By Brian Williams, Anchor and managing editor
Just returned from our return shuttle flight from Washington after the Petraeus interview. It was good having time with Richard Engel and his producer, the great Madeleine Haeringer, who were in Washington with me for the interview. We sat three rows away from my friend Katie Couric and her production team, which several passengers in the rear of the aircraft found interesting. It also occured to me I was on two MD-80's already today.
This morning, Richard Engel sent the final chapter of his next book manuscript to the publisher, which means we'll all be able to buy it in a few months. Something tells me you'll hear more about it in this space.
The airline mess reached crisis proportions a long time ago, and today only worsened. The big fear now is a daisy-chain effect of inspections, rolling from one airline to the next. Question: when does it become a de facto national security matter, when our carriers can no longer carry passengers, cargo and mail? Where's the ingenuity to solve this in a way that lessens the impact to the traveling public -- or "customers" as they used to be called? Are there not enough jets idle or available via either lend-lease from other carriers or so-called "wet-lease" from other vendors to fill some of the gaps in missing passenger seats? Solving the outage will, I'm afraid, take some outrage.
We have some really interesting stories on the broadcast tonight -- we hope you can join us.