I am a shy person. I spend most of my days alone. Although it was daunting to figure out how to pack my 21-inch carry on with clothes for hot weather in Rapa Nui and Buenos Aires and freezing weather in Patagonia, dealing with more than a dozen strangers for three weeks was even more of a challenge. During the first few days of the trip I quietly mingled and occasionally exchanged stories, but it wasn’t until the group and I were in the Buenos Aires airport that I discovered there were limits to my shyness.
If I’d gotten a fortune cookie yesterday, it would have read: ‘Overconfidence brings misfortune.’ Or maybe, ‘Stay close to home today.’
Lacking such foresight, I was feeling cheerful about the two little flights – each less than 4 hours – that would take me from Florida to Arizona. This trip was trivial compared to the one from LAX to Melbourne: 16 hours in the air, which I do several times a year.
I barely even packed. In my carryon, I had just a computer, wallet, and paperback – Anne Frank’s Diary of A Young Girl, which I was reading for the first time.
A friend dropped me at sweet little Sarasota/Bradenton airport exactly 90 minutes before my 1.34 p.m. flight. But at the Delta counter, I heard a staff member apologizing to another customer: our flight was delayed at least an hour.
Over the PA, an agent made the unsmiling declaration that that Atlanta airport was opening and closing all day, due to “weather,” and that if we made it there during a brief open period, we’d probably be spending the night there, not getting on to our final destinations. That, or we could go home and start again tomorrow.
I had booked a “calming facial” the next morning at the Royal Palms Spa, and I needed it. My pores were clogged from months in the sun, and relaxing in the hands of a competent, smooth-skinned aesthetician would make this trip worthwhile.
The flight to Atlanta kept being further delayed, in maddening, twenty-minute increments, which meant there wasn’t time to go to Starbucks or watch the soothing tropical fish display. We finally boarded about 3.30 p.m., and I strapped myself in and sat reading Anne Frank’s Diary. Having never read the book before, I’d assumed it would be horrifically depressing, but in fact her journal was amusing and the narrator almost incredibly cheerful, as in this observation shortly after her family went into hiding.
Steven Slater , “What Color is Your Parachute, dude?” Enquiring minds want to know. Exit, stage left………or was that Emergency Exit, stage left?
Hand me that other cold one , will you?
It was another one of those days, wasn’t it?
Your high speed, French, aluminum-tubed cattle car was just yards away….no, feet away, no, no, just inches away for home plate and…and …… game over.
Brakes set, seat belt light off and you’re out of this pig pen……YES !
Your last syllable of “Home again, Home again, and I’m out of here” had not made it past your whispering lips.
THEN, it happened……… like clockwork. Those important people get out of their rented seats to retrieve their overhead luggage. This is before the aircraft is stopped and the seat belt light is extinguished.
OMG, here we go AGAIN…..for the millionth time.
Plane Talk: Got a question? Ask the Captain!
Do you have a question about airline safety, flight etiquette, jet lag, or air travel in general? Submit your question and look for answers in a future column.
What did you see as the problem in the American Airlines Jamaica runway accident?
First, I saw the problem, landing with a tailwind (possibly) out of limits. Then I see what appears to be some of the best publications relations in the realm of corporate aviation.
The following is my opinion:
Basic airplane 101 says, point that little puppy (the jet or “de plane”, “de plane” ) into the wind for all takeoffs and landings.
The “Specs” or specifications for the Boeing 737-800 say max takeoff / landing tailwind component is 10 knots. Please note, it does NOT say About, Sorta’or Kinda’10 kts. It says 10 kts. This will be important later.
Then the “Specs” goes on to say…There “May” be 15kts ( tailwind) as customer option. Hmmm? Seems just a tad contradictory, yes?
Uh, NO, not really.
What that means, basically, is that Boeing is “on the hook legally” for that 10 kt tailwind number.
Now, but, but, but what about that 15 kts?
Well, that’s “Show me the $$ money $$ time.
Plane Talk: Got a question? Ask the Captain!
Do you have a question about airline safety, flight etiquette, jet lag, or air travel in general? Submit your question and look for answers in a future column. Answering your questions in our NEW ASK THE CAPTAIN column is, Michael Wiggins, a retired airline pilot who has spent the better part of his life shuttling passengers around the globe.
We'd been planning to launch this column ever since a chance meeting brought Michael onto our radar screen. We KNEW we wanted him to bring his expertise and humor to our YourLifeIsATrip family, but who knew we'd start the dialogue with the question on everyone's lips these days...
What was really going on with those Northwest Airline pilots in the cockpit?
About those NWA pilots over flying ( MSP ) Minneapolis/ St. Paul Airport by 150 miles. Jeeeez. It's a reasonable question. How CAN that happen?
The lack of attention to detail is obvious. Someone has to be driving that big ol’ Bus (AIRBUS) and somebody has to be monitoring the radios. And as they say in California, that’s a definite “for sure, for sure” dude.
It sounds to me like a couple of guys had their radio volumes turned down …. way, w a y, w a y down. This is an especially bad thing when you are traveling at 500 miles per hour……hummmmmmmmm, divide that (500 mph) by 60 minutes ( 60 minutes is an hour….I think? )…….and you can see that this “winged” aluminum beast is smokin’ right along at about 8.4 miles per minute.