Friday, April 09, 2010

This Never Happened Before

A smile crept to the corners of my mouth while reading an article about a British school teacher who fell asleep on a flight from London to Vancouver with Air Canada last month and woke up inside the hangar as reported on the Foxnews website.

“Lines sent a complaint to Air Canada and got an email back from customer services, apologizing and promising him 20 percent off his next flight.

“This kind of thing has never happened before,” the airline said.”

I was on a trip from Atlanta to Houston which passed through some very troublesome air, enough that the flight was eventually turned away for safety reasons; tornados and severe weather made landing in Houston impossible. We were diverted to New Orleans with a plane full of frightened passengers, many of them sick to their stomachs.

Upon approaching New Orleans came the familiar, “Please return your seats to the upright position. We’ll be landing in New Orleans momentarily.”

From the back of the airplane came a panicked voice, a woman who’d slept through the entire flight, “Oh no; I got on the wrong plane!”

Everyone began laughing and forgot about the last several hours of being bounced around by the storm; well, everyone except the poor woman who couldn’t figure out how she got on the wrong airplane.

My dad told me a story a long time ago, from a different age; a time when rail passengers had sleeper cars between cities on business trips. According to the story, a letter of complaint was sent to the Pennsylvania Rail Road’s president informing him one of their cars had bed bugs which had ruined his business trip and a night’s sleep.

A few weeks went by and a letter was sent from the office of the rail way president explaining, “This kind of thing has never happened before”, that steps were being taken to insure it never happened again and would a discount on the next trip make up for any inconvenience. The secretary placed the official company apology in an envelope; but failed to remove an attached note, “Send this guy the bug letter”.

I’d have to wonder how many airline passengers sleep so soundly as to wake up an hour or more after the rest of his/her fellow passengers have long since gone their merry way; not too many for sure. All the same I’d be looking for evidence of Post-it glue at the top of the apology letter, hinting of a similar note, “Send this guy the sleepy letter”.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal , a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.


Jahn said...

Methinks the "bug letter" story is an urban legend. But it's still funny.

However... returning from a deployment to Panama in '92, our plane developed hydraulic trouble in the landing gear and we got diverted from Albuquerque to Charleston, SC (the nearest repair depot). When we landed, we landed hard, which woke up the guy across the aisle from me.

"Ooooo... what time is it?"

"Well, it's about 1800 in Charleston."

"What do I care what time it is in Charleston?"

"Hey, Dave. Guess what?"

We laughed about that off and on for years.

T. F. Stern said...

Jahn, If the bug letter is an urban legend then it's a very old urban legend as my dad told me this one when I was in my early teens.

MK said...

Lots of things happen on planes that we're always assured never happened before. Naturally, they assure us that we should trust them because they know what they're doing unlike who are too dumb to know for ourselves.

T. F. Stern said...


I'm not a big fan of flying, but it is a necessary evil for those with a long way to go and little time for sight seeing. I fly, just don't ask me to enjoy the sensation.