Monday, May 17, 2010

Words I Don't Want to Hear

If I hear that word on the aircraft PA one more time, I think I'll cast off my seat belt, jump up, shake my fist and yell, “I DON'T WANT TO HEAR THAT WORD AGAIN! YOU HEAR ME? NOT AGAIN, OR ELSE...”

The passengers will look at me, stunned, mouths agape. The flight attendant will reach for the handset to call the captain. It'll be a “Level I” incident, maybe a Level II. Security will be waiting at the gate to take me into custody. My name will land on the “No Fly” list. I don't care.

Don't tell me we are going to land “shortly.” Shortly is a stupid word that defies definition. Webster takes a feeble stab at it. They say it means: in a short time. But short can't be quantified. Short to me is five minutes. To you it might be 15. To somebody else, 30. Why say it? Why not just say, “We are about to land.”

But then, why even say that? Everybody on the plane knows we're descending. The houses are getting bigger. Spare me that preposterous word.

And here's an annoying practice I hear on the RJ's—seldom on mainline flights: “Our flight today is under the command of Captain Bob, assisted by First Officer Ted.”

Do those sound like cartoon characters to you? Captain Bob? I've got visions of Sponge Bob sitting up there in the left seat. Jeeze! Include the man's last name, for Bob's sake.

I willfully suffer the safety briefing because I know the FAA requires it. The flight attendants have got to do that. But some of the extraneous stuff they do really gets to me. For example: please don't welcome me to my destination before I even get there. The other day, I was welcomed to Huntsville 50 miles out!

I might be painfully wrong about this, but I've lived all my life under the impression that I get welcomed by someone who is there waiting for me to get there, not someone who is traveling with me. So, how about just shutting up about that, okay?

But now, don't think pilots are immune from silly announcements. Here's the one I detest the most: “Ladies and gentlemen, sit back and relax...”

SAY WHAT? Sit back, you say? I can recline my seat back a whopping 2 degrees. My knees are jammed against the reclined seat in front of me. I'm sandwiched between two guys with the girths of a turbo-fan engine, and you want me to relax?

I'll relax if a damn well please, and I don't need a pilot telling me to, even if I could.

Okay. I got that off my chest. What's on yours? 

The last post had some interesting comments and ideas. My comments on the comments: Build more gates? Not likely. Use portable stairs and buses? Makes sense but not practical at most airports. Take the fight to the source of the problem, fine those nasty thunderstorms? Right on.

 Could be a rough ride up there.
Quote of the post:
"Who was the best pilot I ever saw? You're lookin' at 'im."
— Gordon Cooper in the movie 'The Right Stuff,' 1983