Friday, March 07, 2008

This is your captain speaking. Please ignore that wing that just fell off.

I don't travel very often. I wish I did, and I wish I had the resources to go bopping around the world while still actually accomplishing something in the lab, but I don't, and I'm sort of resigned to that for now. When I do leave Chicago, it's usually to head back to Pittsburgh for something or other. Given that I'm a graduate student, I'm usually not taking solid gold limousines or private helicopters. I'm usually taking the cheapest flight I can find (buses and trains also go between the cities, but I'm impatient and the thought of ten hours on a bus is not something that appeals to me). Usually, this is Southwest, which often has some deal where if I'm not screwing around and actually remember to book my flight on time, will fly me from Chicago to Pittsburgh for about $60 each way, which is an awesome deal.

What is not awesome is finding out that they were cutting down on overhead by skipping inspections and flying non-airworthy planes. I don't have much of a fear of flying, apart from some nervousness during take off. I've actually found that taking Mr. Sjöberg's rocket hypothesis as a basis, that subsides pretty easily. I also have a bit of a fear of airplane-related irony, and that once we've safely landed the brakes will go out and the runaway plane will plow into the terminal. I should note that that's not entirely irrational, as that sort of happened at the airport I fly out of on the airline I use, though that was a combination of pilot error and a snowstorm, not the brakes going out.

Oh, and flying into Midway is somewhat off-putting, as you get really close to a lot of houses.
They're not so much with the roominess concept on the South Side, apparently.

It does bother me that I may very well have been on one of those "non-airworthy" planes, or at least I think it should in theory. I guess the fact that none of my planes ever went down (obviously) makes me feel better, though it'll be interesting to see if I stick with them. Will my unwillingness to part with a bunch of money to pay for a flight with another carrier that actually performs maintenance overcome my fear of being on a plane held together by packing tape and prayers?


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Are you trying to give the people in Pittsburgh heart attacks??? I guess the saying "What I don't know won't hurt me" doesn't apply here.

Are you still going to the gym? I know you want to be buff for the summer!!! I heard that spinning burns up to a zillion calories an hour!! But I don't know how you walk afterwards... I just might give it a try!!!

Hoping to hear from you soon, even if it is in the middle of the night in PA!! Don't forget spring ahead!!!