Yesterday was the first day of my Spring Break, and, as such, it should have been anything but stressful. However, seeing that travel was involved, the odds of something going wrong were high. Add in the fact that I was flying with American Airlines, and all hope of having a stress-free and relaxing day was thrown out the window.
Now, I love American Airlines dearly, mostly because they have a stellar record of keeping me alive. Nevertheless, I am increasingly concerned each time I board one of their airplanes. A few months ago, as I was seated on the plane, preparing to be taken from Dallas to Chicago for Christmas break, the pilot announced nonchalantly that O'Hare was temporarily not allowing any planes to land there, though not for any weather-related reasons. The manner in which he conveyed this information implied that terrible, horrifying things were happening in Chicago. For fifteen minutes, panicked passengers called and sent text messages to loved ones; those without loved ones fidgeted with their cell phones anyway. Finally, the pilot's voice came over the intercom again, but with no useful information. He merely mentioned that the ground block had been lifted and that we would be in the air soon.
When I finally arrived at O'Hare, I was a wee bit shaken and incredibly annoyed. My emotions had been manipulated carelessly by the very man who held my life in his hands for two hours and thirty minutes. He gave me reason to panic and then essentially shrugged it off with a little laugh.
Last night, I was once again on an American Airlines plane, ready to fly from Dallas to Chicago. My flight was supposed to land at 9:15pm, but the boarding hadn't even finished by 9:10pm. The original aircraft had "maintenance issues," so all the passengers were told to wait at a different gate for a different plane, one that would be leaving two hours after our originally-scheduled flight. I appreciate flying on planes without severe maintenance issues, so I didn't complain about the wait.
However, once on board this second airplane, the pilot spoke up to welcome the passengers and to apologize for another small delay. "As you know, this flight was originally supposed to leave at 7pm, but the first craft had some maintenance issues. We had to wait a little while to get this plane, but it also had a few maintenance issues. We're just working through the paperwork now, so we should be leaving shortly. The intercom between myself and the control tower is having some issues, but I'm not too concerned. Thank you once again for choosing American, and we hope you enjoy your flight."
Not too concerned? I'm not an expert on planes by any means, but I've always assumed it was rather important for the pilot to be able to communicate with the control tower. "Is it okay to land? [silence] Hello? [silence] I'll take that as a yes."
Meanwhile, the male flight attendant was frightening the people in the exit row behind me in an attempt to get them to look over the emergency procedure manuals. "Ma'am, do you even know where to look to find out how to open that door?" The woman scoffed and told him that she had no idea. "Well, ma'am, the last two times I've been in an emergency situation, the people in this row were absolutely clueless. I'd like to fix that."
The frightened woman across the aisle from the clueless woman spoke up and mentioned that the information could be found in the brochure in the seat pocket. This pleased the flight attendant, so he offered her a free drink as a reward. She relaxed and beamed, obviously pleased with herself. Meanwhile, everyone else in the exit row nervously began skimming through the instructions and simultaneously glaring at the know-it-all. (Considering the fact that our pilot was so uninterested in talking to the control tower, I personally wish they would have done more skimming and less glaring.)
Obviously, I'm still alive, and once again I can thank American Airlines for that. I enjoyed a lovely ride home with my family, I got to wake up to the whinier cat landing on my face, and I have done nothing but relax all day long. I even had to take a nap to take a break from the relaxing. Deep down, though, I am paralyzed with fear. Because of that, I would like to take this moment to say a few words to the kind people at American Airlines.
Dearest AA Peeps,
Please stop scaring the pants off your passengers. Most of your passengers don't look too hot without pants, and scaring people is just mean. Also, note that the only reason I'm not going to sue you for emotional distress (or whatever it is that people are suing for these days) is because I'm lazy and apparently not wearing any pants. Therefore, I request that you treat yourselves to something fun today to celebrate that I'm not suing you. I suggest a glass of chocolate milk, a balloon animal, or perhaps even a day at the zoo.
I'm also secretly hoping that by partaking in a bit of fun, you might remember how cool it is to not scare the pants off of people. You might even remember how nice it is to feed your cute little passengers instead of skimping on the snack mix after a two-hour delay. Anyway, I'll be seeing you again on Sunday afternoon, so I hope you'll consider repenting of your evil ways before then. Meanwhile, have a fun week! Thanks for keeping me alive!
Lots of love and a smidgen of bitterness,
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to do some laundry, switch some clocks, and spend the rest of the night relaxing and drinking chocolate milk.