22 April, 2009

The joys of air travel, part II

I'm back in Boston after spending a very relaxing week in southern California and once again I have a story about an annoying person on a flight. I flew Virgin America for the first time because they were cheap and they had non-stop flights from Boston to LAX. The flight out of Boston was supposed to leave at 7AM but we hadn't pulled back from the gate at 7:10. The pilot got on the intercom and told us that a computer glitch had delayed us. He said maintenance was on the aircraft fixing it and that it would just be another 15 or 20 minutes until we could leave. I thought it was nice of them to inform us of what was causing the delay and figured that everyone else would appreciate the update as well. I didn't take into account that some people would freak the fuck out at hearing "computer glitch."

The girl in front of me had already been complaining about the delay before the announcement. I could hear her complaining almost immediately after we boarded. "Weren't we, like, supposed to leave already?" she asked. The person in the seat next to her either did not respond or didn't shout out the way she did. "This airline is, like, alllllllways late. Every time they are, like, soooo late!" I was quite relieved to be sitting next to a quiet Asian couple who were more interested with the in-seat TVs than they were with the delay. The girl in front continued to, like, complain while drawing out certain words for added emphasis. I was already picturing a typical blond SoCal girl with tons of makeup and tried to imagine using her body as a battering ram to get the door open in an emergency. And then the pilot made the announcement.

"Oh my gawwwd! A computer glitch?! This plane is totally not safe!" Fuck, seriously? She's going to freak out over this? "Excuse me! Hey!" she shouted at a passing flight attendant. The flight attendant turned and came back to her row. "What's wrong with the plane?! I do nooooot want to fly on this plane if there's a computer glitch!" The flight attendant assured her that it would be fixed momentarily and that the plane was perfectly safe. "Are you sure? Isn't the computer, like, really important?" Dumb Socal Girl asked. "Yes ma'am. There are multiple computers on the aircraft and it's just a small problem with one of them." "Well which computer is it?" Dumb Socal Girl demanded. "I'm not sure ma'am. I can assure you that we would not take off if there was a problem though," the flight attendant replied. "Is it the altimeter?" "I'm sorry ma'am, I really don't know. We won't leave until it's fixed though."

I was surprised she even knew what an altimeter was. The woman had already told her that she didn't know which computer wasn't working but obviously shouting out random aircraft terms will help her figure it out. Dumb Socal Girl's panic didn't end here, however. She had to call her boyfriend to warn him that she might not make it to LA because there was a computer glitch that could crash the plane and this might be the last time they ever spoke to one another. I pulled out my book and tried to pretend I couldn't hear her.

I did not encounter any crazy or annoying people on the flight back to Boston. I was sitting next to a 3 year old girl and worried that she would scream and cry for most of the flight. Luckily the crying was limited to a 10 minute period about an hour into the flight. She spent the rest of the time watching TV. Thank you so much for those TVs Virgin America.

1 comment:

  1. You should've leaned over the seat and explained how the computer glitch might be in the headlight fluid or the flux capacitor. But not to worry, the backup systems have all been retrofitted with auto-healing modules. Then explain how your friend made a billion dollars overnight developing the auto-healing modules and how you were a stockholder at the IPO.

    I need to fly more.