“Good morning, this is your pilot speaking...we have a small problem...
We‘re sailing along in the air, 15 minutes outside of Atlanta, when our pilot came on for the first time. Instead of announcing that the weather was looking great as we headed toward our Philadelphia destination – he explained that there was a small problem.
Ha ha. No problem on a plane is small since flying is like being trapped in an elongated soup can propelled by flammable liquid.
“The issue seems to be with our cabin pressurization,” said captain pilot (TRANSLATION: the ability of every human on board to be able to breathe oxygenated air.) “The computers that control it are both down. So for now, we are adjusting it manually.”
Not reassuring. The image of a flight attendant manually pumping compressed air into a 133,000-pound jet for 200 or more people did not seem like a reasonable solution.
I shot my husband a look that said, “Do something about this…” which was ridiculous. He, my mother and I now awaited our fate. We were returning from a wonderful family event in Atlanta and of course, I thought, “I am being punished for having such as good time all weekend.”
This was it.
Ding, ding, ding.
This time the pilot did not come on but actually appeared at the front of the plane.
I was frantic. The pilot was not.
In an easy voice, he told us, “…the folks in Atlanta want us to swing around and come on back to home base.” He made it sound like we were on a big sky bike that he was going to steer back to some sporting event. This, to my relief, is kind of what he made happen.
We landed safely in Atlanta where we then learned that every seat on every flight back to Philadelphia was filled; we would have to wait until the next day to fly home.
This gave me enough time to think about renting a car and driving back. Never mind that the thing I hate second most to flying is driving on high-speed interstate highways next to tankers, trucks and road-raged drivers. This, in my worldview is exactly like flying, only closer to the ground.
So now the issue is how to get to vacation this summer – fly or drive? For now, I’ll shelve the problem —as I hunker down on my deck with my dogs, a good book and a gorgeous view of nature. All very close to terra firma.