Air Travel Headaches
So, you finally got a few days out of the office and wish to take a short trip. Your paltry two weeks of vacation time per year notwithstanding, you are determined to make the most of your weekend getaway to Fiji, or the Bahamas, or… Detroit. It’s bad enough how little vacation time we get in this country, but what is even worse is just how miserable air travel has gotten.
One third of all US flights are delayed, a truly beautiful piece of news for those who are trying to squeeze the most time out of their vacations possible. In my most recent trip to Minneapolis, both my outbound and inbound flights had to be returned to the gate before takeoff for “minor maintenance issues” which turned into two and one hour delays respectively. For such a short trip (3 days) I hardly was looking forward to getting in so late and missing out on any more of my vacation because some crazy mechanics forgot to check the brakes. I should have just taken a road trip.
The worst part about air travel though is the lying. I am not talking about exaggerating. I mean hard-core, in your face, blatant lying.
“Folks, we are going to be taking off here shortly” in airline lingo really means “folks, we are going to be taking off after the 19 planes in front of us in line do. Oh, and you can’t talk on your cell phones while we wait because just one of those devices will mess up the controls and we will crash before we even leave the gate.”
For your amusement, here are some of the lies we hear, and what they really mean.
1 – What they say: “We expect a 3 hour and 15 minute flight, but since we took off late, we’ll make up some time in the air”
What they mean: “We are going to fly recklessly in order to reach your destination about 3 minutes earlier while you get to enjoy heart-stopping turbulence the whole way.”
2 – What they say: “Folks, we need to return to the gate to check on a minor maintenance issue”
What they mean: “We have a major problem that we decided not to investigate until everyone was already on the plane. Your flight will be canceled, but you will only be notified about this fact after you have sat on the runway for 3 and a half hours. I hope you enjoy sleeping at the gate, because there are no more flights to your destination today. No, you can’t have our pillows.”
3 – What they say: “Looks like we have some minor bumpiness ahead, so we’re going to turn the fasten-seatbelt sign on.”
What they mean: “We were getting bored up here so we decided to fly into wind-shear on purpose to entertain you and keep you awake.”
4 – What they say: “Our meal today is fried chicken, a biscuit, house salad with bleu-cheese dressing and a cookie.”
What they mean: “Our meal today is fried mystery meat with a rock, a brick, and weeds from my backyard. This can be yours for only $10.”
5 – What they say: “It looks like there are a few other flights scheduled to land before us, so we are going to circle for a few minutes until we have been given clearance to land.”
What they mean: “Oh no! The big, bad other planes got here first. We have to circle the airport and make everyone sick for an hour before we are re-routed to another smaller city on the other side of the state because we are running out of fuel.”
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