If you're still here, grant me this one deviation.
I'm troubled by something. I simply don't understand why a captain at a package hauling outfit makes a hundred grand a year, or more, than I, your humble correspondent―who hauls living, breathing humans. A co-pilot there is in a higher tax bracket than I. Where's the sanity in this business?
Would I choose to swap with that guy? If I did, I would think about how fortunate I was, as I counted my wads. I would reflect on how boxes never complain about the ride. They never bellyache about how hot or cold they are, and they never pester you for game scores. They don't ask for stuff and they don't need to be fed, watered or boozed. Don't need to go to the bathroom just when you're ready to take off, either.
Boxes don't shop around for another flight that will cost $10 less, and they don't bring carry-ons. Pound-for-pound they pay more to ride than flesh does. They don't need extra legroom or elbow space. They don't get mad at each other, and certainly not at their crews. They don't care if they're late, early or on time, and they couldn't give a rat's rear end if they crash and burn.
Boxes don't need wheel chairs and oxygen. You won't find AEDs back there, either. Boxes don't argue and they don't have to be given that abysmally boring safety briefing every flight.
Terrorists don't care to kill boxes.
Big boxes never ask to visit the cockpit before departure to photograph little boxes sitting in the captain's seat. Tiny boxes don't cry and annoy big boxes. Boxes never ask to be re-seated. They don't ask for upgrades and they don't want to sit beside other boxes that they like or love.
They never thank you for a nice flight. Not a one of them has ever said “goodbye.” But to be fair, they are actually quite polite also: none has ever flipped off to a crewmember or each other.
Boxes don't go home. They don't go on vacations, honeymoons, anniversary journeys, or business trips. They don't smile at you, and they don't frown. (They are quite emotionless.) Packages don't have to worry about a ride from the airport; they get delivered to the doorstep.
Yep, I'd think about boxes a lot if I knocked down a quarter mil, or more, a year to haul them. And when the day comes to hand over that last box, I could kick back and think about all the boxes I've delivered safe and sound to their loved ones.
Furthermore I could consider all those memories in great comfort because I would have made many trips to the one box that matters the most: the deposit box.
Ps: Don't get me wrong. I like those guys; I have many friends in the package hauling business. (Better make that, “had.”)
Coming in the September issue of Aviation History: A "feature" story, that was born here on Decision Height. (I'll remind you later.)
Beautiful, but best avoided.
An aircraft's hot exhaust cuts a rut into
the cloud deck going into Colorado Springs.