Flying Is For The Birds

I am sitting here, at 32,000 feet, surrounded by tons of metal with the seatbelt light on as we experience some pretty severe turbulence. I can no longer type because we are shaking too much, so I begin to reminisce about my experiences high above the ground.

I have flown a great deal and my busiest year, 2007, had me boarding a total of 108 airliners. To say I am familiar with flying would be an understatement, but that certainly does not mean I like it. Of course, now that I am writing about it, looking down at nothing but water, all of the challenges I have encountered come to the foreground of my mind.

I think one of my best airplane experiences was a number of years ago, flying from Moncton to Toronto on a 737, one of my favourite aircraft. It was the dead of winter and the snow was falling fast while the wind howled. We had just de-iced and were making our way to the active runway. The plane barrelled along, about to lift off when the engines made a strange noise and the take-off was aborted.

A moment later an announcement explained there was an issue with a gauge, which had to be resolved before we could take off. I certainly have no problem with repairing anything before we fly, no matter how long it takes, but many people around me failed to share my views and became agitated.

The plane pulled back to the gate and maintenance did their thing. Unfortunately there is a rule on the books, which states the door has to be open while the plane is parked. A long, icy thirty minutes passed before were ready to roll and I was shivering from the cold when I realized we had to be de-iced again.