The following is a true story. None of the places or names have been changed.
OK I admit it. I don’t like to fly. I don’t like the crowds or being manhandled by security or being cramped in a small metal tube called a luxury jet liner. However, unlike a lot of other nervous passengers, I have never actually worried about the plane crashing. That is, until last year when I happened to sit in the last row of a United/Continental flight from Chicago to Newark.
I was in the worst seat you can get on an airplane, but I had a rush business trip and it was all they had left. In the last row you cannot recline the seat and you are right next to the bathroom.
The flight was uneventful and it was towards the end of the flight. Two flight attendants were standing in the service area at the back of the plane, and I could clearly hear every word they said. One was an older fellow named Kevin and the other was a very attractive young woman named Mindy with an adorable Georgia accent. Despite the seat not reclining, I was actually quite relaxed until Mindy started speaking.
” I bet you Billy bounces the plane!” , said Mindy.
“Why would you say that?” answered Kevin, somewhat nerviously.
“This is Billy’s first time landing in Newark. And Newark is real hard to land at. There are a lot of strong cross winds, and the runway is not that long; so he is going to be really nervous.”
I glanced at the passengers around me, but lucky for them they had all dozed off. I, on the other hand, was now gripping the seat armrests so hard my knuckles were turning white.
But Mindy was not done yet. “I think just before the plane lands, I should get on the phone to the cockpit and shout out, “Bounce! Bounce! Bounce!”
“I really don’t think you should do that,” insisted Kevin. I turned my head for a quick glance and saw than Kevin was now visibly sweating.
Oh great! Not only do we have a pilot who has never landed at a dangerous airport before, but we have a flight attendant who thinks it would be a great practical joke to distract him while he is doing it.
Seconds later the pilot (Billy) announced that the flight attendants should take their final positions for landing. Mindy did not answer, so apparently she had second thoughts about distracting him.
The plane came in smooth and level and then suddenly slammed into the runway and bounced not once but twice before Billy finally managed to get it to stay on the runway. Some guy’s laptop came out of the overhead bin and crashed into the aisle.
As we exited the plane some of the passengers were visibly shaken. Mindy, on the other hand had the big smile of a kid who has just gotten off a roller coaster. Pilot Billy wisely chose to keep the cockpit door closed while the passengers deplaned
So apparently Mindy really does know a lot about airports or pilot Billy or both. However, next time I wish she would just keep that information to herself.