Thursday, February 03, 2011

Dear Flight Across the Continent,

Dear Flight Across the Continent,

First of all, I want to express my gratitude for the conditions under which I undertook you: the plane was not full, and therefore there was a seat between me and the guy in my row. There was wireless, and that meant I could do a little internet teaching. Thirdly, pretzels. Fourthly, ginger ale. Also, couple of pre-teenage girls who were singing together, softly, before takeoff.

I was not amused by the alarming sound that went on for a good ten minutes while we were sauntering out to the runway. It was a cross between grinding and shrieking and perhaps droning. I came to believe that it was the landing gear, although technically we were using the landing gear, weren't we, before we took off. This sound did not inspire confidence. I add this uininspiring sound to the fact that the pilot made an announcement about a sensor that was malfunctioning but was merely "informational" and therefore was going to be "disengaged" before we took off.

Call me sensitive, Flight across the continent, but I think an informational sensor might not, optimally, be optional. Especially when flying across a continent.

Which, I will now boringly remind everyone, is a long way. Although it is technically not across the entire continent (2442 air miles from San Francisco to Washington, D.C.), it is still a lot of miles. One thousand eight hundred and forty eight, to be exact. And four hours, another measure of distance. And knowing this, I still did board you, Flight across the continent, I boarded you with my very headcold and my laptop, and my belief that DayQuil, Advil, and time would get me through.

Headcold + cabin pressure = not delightful.

But we did make it, Flight across the continent. As in, I am here, and functioning, with DayQuil/Advil and time on my side. I do not like to contemplate that soon we will greet each other again, Flight &c.: at 7 a.m. Sunday morning. See if you can't arrange that not-quite-full situation again. That made the whole deal more bearable, and that might make us friends, kind of. At least occasional acquaintances that don't quail when they spot each other, say, at the airport.

sincerely yours,



  1. Will you think I'm a geek if I tell you that I'd put money on your being in an Airbus A300, and that the grinding sound is the sound that tends to happen (I think it's actually hydraulics, not metal-on-metal, despite the grating sound) when they check the flaps extensors? Because I am feeling very, very self-conscious right now.

  2. Here's what I object to, Dear Flight Across the Continent--the only thing you fed her were pretzels and ginger ale? Oh, how I miss the days when I could complain about airplane food. Of which there is NONE now.

  3. I was thinking ginger ale AND pretzels? get me the name of that airline! of course, the optional sensor thing doesn't sound too trust-inspiring.

  4. I'm glad that you made it but man, that flight is nearly prohibitive. Well, in my case, it was prohibitive. I hope you made up for it in fine friends and good talk.

  5. And you didn't even mention the gum popper! I guess the grinding noise is certainly a more significant detail.

  6. Dear Companion on Flight Across the Continent & Roommate,
    Also, the flight was unfull, so that was delightful. Also, it was not loud or terrible. And only the one bump.
    But I am tired now.
    And also sad that there are no tapas here, in my house. Nor you.
    The end.
    Good night.



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