Friday, February 16, 2007

You buy your ticket, you take your chance

It's Friday but I just started a new rotation so it feels like a Monday to me. I did a 14 hour day on 5 hours of sleep and I'm looking at six more shifts just like it so just a quick passing thought tonight. The big snowstorm on Valentine's Day pissed a lot of air travellers off and I see those people who were stuck on that airplane for somewhere between 8-11 hours are still making news today. This is news?

It's winter. It snows. You might get stuck somewhere. Believe me I know how much it sucks to be on a airplane that's not moving for eight hours. It happened to me in Brussels. I was on my way home after a three week trip and the plane lifted off and immediately landed again. Something fell off the plane and they had to fix it. We spent at least 8 hours on the tarmac. It was a smoking flight but there was a real New York couple on the plane who raised a big stink about being sold a non-smoking ticket so after about four hours, they stopped letting people smoke.

After 6 hours, a low level of grumbling broke out and resonated through the plane. It was big one. It had middle seats besides three on either side. The flight attendants broke out copious amounts of champagne. Most of the passengers fell asleep within 30 minutes. And still we sat there and they didn't open any doors. It was April.

I was sitting near the jump seat for the flight attendant. She was tiny little oriental woman. She didn't have any champagne and she knew what was going on with the broken stuff. I'll never forget the look on her face when we finally took off. I have never seen such a look of abject terror in my life. I was drunk enough not to care.

Needless to say, we survived. But we didn't make the news and nobody suggested we should draft a farookin passengers bill of rights over it. I swear the world has gone crazy.


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