Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Flight dreck, Part II

My theory about flight crews? Glad you asked. But first, rest assured that the theory is grounded in repeated observation, refined only later into a general proposition.

One night I was having a drink at the Ledes and Layoffs Club in Philadelphia, my peace disturbed by a too-loud group pounding tables in bad rhythm and jocosely threatening not to pay for their rounds. "An airline crew," the bartender whispered. "They work for Northeast."

Next week, different crew, same airline, same behaviour.

Some months later, the club a bit more crowded, the music a bit louder, the behaviour a bit worse. "These guys fly for Northeast, too?" I asked.

"Nope," the bartender said, "Epsilon Airlines."

Now, what may we conclude? That commercial-airline flight crews, worn to a frazzle and wound tight by endless rules and procedures and by the tight quarters in which they work, rendered light-headed by jet lag, go nuts when let loose in a strange city? Or maybe these three crews (from two real airlines whose names have been changed to avoid embarrassing the club or its customers) were just jerks.

In any case, next time I go to Europe, I may take the train. (Read more about flying here, including a comment that suggests another plausible explanation for flight crews' blowing off steam.)

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

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6 Comments:

Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

The train or take a flight from St John, Newfoundland. ;0)

August 26, 2009  
Blogger seana said...

I've always wondered what flight crews do in between flights. I guess this could have been predicted.

August 26, 2009  
Blogger R. T. said...

Long ago I gave up any interest in flying. Too many flights to too many places persuaded me that the law of averages was about to catch up to me. So, with a healthy respect for the Fates (i.e., I don't want Atropos cutting my thread of life sooner than necessary), I simply decided, "No more airplanes." Now, with what you're telling me, my decision is a very good one. Thanks for sharing. Now, please pass it on to the FAA, as if that would do anything to mitigate the danger.

August 26, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Uriah, do you think a running leap might get me from St. John's to Shannon?

August 26, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, I suppose some version of this sort of conduct has been a vague part of the American popular imagination since, maybe, the 1950s. I suppose the imaginings involved cheating pilots, lascivious flight attendants, and cocaine being snorted to keep up with the hectic pace. My bunch was nothing so glamorous, though, at least not in public.

August 26, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

R.T., I long ago gave up interest in flying, but I have kept flying nonetheless.

August 26, 2009  

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