Dangerously underfunded government investigating frisbee team for doing 'Harlem Shake'

The “Harlem Shake” investigation division seems like a pretty good place to start cutting during sequestration instead of air traffic controllers, but hey, what do I know?

Something aboard a Frontier Airlines flight across the Rocky Mountain West caught the attention of federal investigators last week. Perhaps it was the passengers banging on the ceiling, walls and floor of the cabin, or maybe how most of the passengers were out of their seats, jumping up and down.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a group of Colorado College students and a Frontier flight crew for a video that was shot in the air during Flight 157 of a Airbus A320 on Feb. 15, an airline spokesperson and federal officials confirmed this week.

The students, who were traveling from Colorado Springs to San Diego on the way to an ultimate frisbee tournament, filmed a version of the “Harlem Shake,” a YouTube meme that has gone viral in the past few months. While no charges or sanctions have been filed against the airline or the students, the FAA is continuing their investigation into the flight and working to uncover if any regulations were violated.

“They are still looking into it, it’s still open,” Tony Molinero, a spokesman for the FAA said this week. “…I don’t know where the [investigators] were told about it, but when they saw the video they just decided to look into it because it is better to be safe than sorry.”

Sure, better to be safe than sorry, unless Republicans in Congress give Obama the opportunity to exercise some flexibility on sequestration cuts, in which case, decry that plan as “even worse arbitrary cuts,” instead of taking the initiative and cutting things like the Special Meme Investigation Unit.

The ultimate frisbee team in question, here, says it had permission from flight attendants to perform this stunt, and as long as it didn’t take place during take-off or landing, they’re on solid ground, so to speak. But I’m glad we’re looking into it.

“All safety measures were followed and the seat belt sign was off,” said Kate O’Malley, a spokeswoman for Frontier.

Good for Frontier. I already liked that airline thanks to the chocolate chip cookies and the cute animal mascots on the tail, but points awarded for sticking it to the man with this momentary indulgence of passenger cut-uppery. Aviation experts seem to think the investigation will come up dry, and let’s hope so. I just wonder how much it’s costing us.

Below, the Frontier flight performs the “Harlem Shake.”

For those of you who don’t know, the Harlem Shake is a viral video craze that basically amounts to one (usually helmeted) person dancing for about 15 seconds to a dance music track called the “Harlem Shake,” surrounded by several people who seemingly don’t notice his dancing. Fifteen seconds into the track, a jump cut reveals the same disinterested bystanders dancing enthusiastically, in various states of undress or costume. Here’s the original, and a sampling of the thousands of “Harlem Shakes” the Internet has brought us.

There are plenty of workplace examples here for the Meme Investigation Unit over at the Labor Department.