If you think business travel is glamorous…. you are wrong and probably haven’t done much of it. I was up for 21 hours yesterday for work, much of it involving air travel or waiting to fly.
I woke up at 3:30am Monday morning to catch a 6:10am flight at Dulles Airport in Virginia, bound for Okaloosa Regional Airport in Florida (think Panhandle). On the Dulles-Atlanta leg (Delta Flight 748 to be exact), there was a bit of an issue surrounding an Arabic gentleman sitting in the exit row across the aisle from me. I know he was Arabic because he was reading a book with Arabic text. You see, you have to speak fluent English to sit in the exit row in order to handle instructions and give out orders in the case of emergency.
When first asked by the female flight attendant if he spoke English, his response was “a little bit.” The flight attendant rightly said he would have to move and she began looking for another seat for him. He grumbled but didn’t put up much of a fight. But the male flight attendant got all “PC” and pulled the female flight attendant back behind the wall where they discussed the situation.
Suddenly she came back and asked the Arabic-reading man a couple more questions where he was able to answer perfect English. So to err on the side of political correctness, and not on the side of terrorism-protection, the Delta flight attendants sided with the Arabic-speaking man. Interesting. Meantime, last June, I was accused of “being a threat” when I complained to the captain of an American Airlines flight about the lack of communication passengers were receiving on a seriously delayed flight and being trapped on the plane with no water. Go figure. White guys never win.
Now what if the new al-Qaeda strategy involved bringing down planes by reaching over in mid-air and pulling out the emergency exit doors on the wings? I nearly got up and said something to the flight attendant to complain about my safety. And I probably should have. But instead I kept my eye on the man the whole way.
After a day in the field in Destin, Florida, I headed back Monday afternoon for a flight back (through Atlanta again) to Charlotte, NC. In Atlanta, Delta Flight 636 to Charlotte made an extraordinarily slow taxi all the way up to the end of the runway where the other planes were lined up. We were about 5th from takeoff when the pilot announced a probe wasn’t working and we were headed back to the gate. The trip all the way out to the runway and all the way back took over one and a half hours! Why didn’t they know the equipment wasn’t working BEFORE the long journey away from the gate began? Perhaps it was so we could leave the gate for an “on time” departure?
After switching planes, I finally arrived in Charlotte at my hotel at 1:00am this morning.
I’m tired and cranky today.