HE SAYS:

I have already described my anxieties and concerns about flying in “Enjoy Your Flight”.    In some of my more recent flights, I have sought out and was happy to secure a seat in one of the emergency exit rows for two very important reasons, more leg room and to avoid the possibility of the passenger in front of me reclining onto my lap for the entire flight.

I usually find myself cynically snickering under my breath, as the flight attendant calmly and reassuringly describes the duties of the people sitting in these seats including the process of opening the emergency door without any assistance from the flight crew so that you can help evacuate the passengers in the event of an “emergency landing”.   I always give my verbal assurance with great conviction when asked if I am willing and able to perform these duties even though I fully comprehend that an “emergency landing” is industry jargon for a plane crash and that no one will be opening any emergency doors.

I am also amused in a fatalistic sort of way with the whole safety instructions routine, particularly, the part about the proper use of the life vests or other flotation devices that are stored under the seats.   I take their word for the fact that these devices really exist; however, I am equally sure that if we have an “emergency landing” (insert the word crash here) in water these devices will be as helpful as those emergency doors.   Yes, I am aware of that miraculous landing in the Hudson River; however, it is so noteworthy because it was a miraculous one in a million kind of occurrence.

I like to hear all of the safety instructions and I like to think that I would open the emergency door and save my fellow passengers simply because it allows me to be able to, at least, partially suspend my disbelief and feel that all of these safety measures might work and we could all walk away from that “emergency landing”.   It’s a little bit like being reassured during an audit that the IRS is fair and reasonable and only wants to help you.  When faced with a stressful situation, we all want to hear such reassurances even if we don’t completely believe them.

I am a little conflicted about writing this blog while on my flight home from Phoenix because I am the last one who would tempt fate by writing about plane crashes while actually on a plane.   If you are reading this, then either everything went smoothly or I was able to open that emergency door after all.

On Wednesday, Annemarie comments on recent family gatherings at their Arizona home in “At Home In Arizona”.

WHAT DO YOU SAY?

HE SAYS:

I do a fair amount of long distance flying and at the beginning of every flight the flight attendant will tell us to relax and enjoy the flight.   Really, does anyone actually enjoy flying?   Think about it, you are hurtling through the air at 600 MPH, 37,000 feet above the ground in, essentially, a metal tube so fragile and flimsy that it probably would disintegrate if it crashed at 10 MPH let alone at 600 MPH.   Tell me, what is there to like about that?

I must admit that I look at flying as a necessary evil to get me from one wonderful destination to another; however, I hate every minute of the flight.   Many people complain about flying but they are usually only concerned that the food is bad, the air is stale, and the seats are uncomfortable.   To me these things are just minor incidentals.   I consider any flight that does not end in a crash to be a great flight.   Serve me only peanuts, delay my flight, even lose my luggage and I will forgive all if you will only get me to my destination safely.

I am always amazed when people hunt for the cheapest flights and are willing to fly on any airline if the price is right.   Would you seek out the cheapest brain surgeon or look for the lowest cost heart transplant?   No, so why would you risk flying on the cheapest airline that you can find?   These low budget airlines might as well come out and say, since we hire inferior pilots and rarely make repairs or replace parts, we can pass the savings on to you!   I once got bumped from a United flight and was asked to fly on their no frills subsidiary “TED” airlines.   Why in the world would I fly on a cut rate airline named TED?

I think that most people share my anxiety about flying even if they won’t admit it.   One sign that I am not alone is the phenomenon of an airplane full of people applauding when the plane lands.  Have you ever experienced a round of applause when your train, bus, or car reached its destination?   No, of course not, because it is only when flying that people need to vent all of that pent up anxiety at the end of the trip.

I know that, statistically, flying is safer than driving a car.  That may be true; however, many people walk away from a car crash but it is truly a miracle if anyone walks away from a plane crash.  Another way to look at it is if your car has a mechanical failure you pull over to the side of the road; however, if your plane has a mechanical failure you plummet to the ground.

I will take my chances any day in a car but, to me, every plane ride feels a little like a near death experience.

WHAT DO YOU SAY?