Friday, December 12, 2008

Flying - Some Good Stuff

Having grown up with a Dad who was once a barnstormer and then a private pilot all of the rest of his life; having married a man who worked for a Major American Airline (MAA) for nearly 36 years, my interest in flying seems natural.

In addition to MAA's "secret site" (for employees and retirees only) I've found two others that intrigue me. The first has been of real help to us when expecting someone to fly into LAX (and, more sentimentally, checking to see if they got home yet.) It's and when you type in the airline's name and flight number, it pops up with a map of the United states, showing a little airplane leading a curving line (to show where it's been.) Below the map are the flight details -- down to the arrival gate number! It's great fun to see this and to know that you personally know someone who is --- right this minute!-- at 30,000 ft., just past Kansas City and that they're hurtling toward you at 550 mph. Or to yell excitedly to Richie, "They're starting their descent -- just passed over Palm Springs!"

Given my penchant for wanting to know what's going on backstage rathern than right under my nose, the other site has been quite informative. It's for simple and this for more to write down -- The latter is written by pilots and flight crew members. One feature is written by a guy who flies for (probably) United or (possibly) American on the Boston-Paris route. He says that he and fellow crew member like to do athletic things -- he is a great fan of the Fat Tire Tours (bicycles, rollerblades and, most recently, Segways) through Paris. He includes photos -- the cockpit view, crews making merry and various Parisian scenes.

It's an informative site with features -- "The 7 Best Airport Restaurants in the World," flight attendant gripes and tips, "Ladies, if you want to meet a man, ask for the middle seat."

Most of all, I recommend it for fearful flyers. When you realize that the pilots are not out to kill you nor the flight attendants to terrorize you; that they're human beings just like you are, you will (I hope) feel a little more rleaxed in flight. If not, what the hell, drink a lot! Just kidding!
A friend of ours (and a medical doctor) says that for long flights, he takes a Benedryl, has a beer and sleeps all the way there. I can't really endorse this idea, especially because if I'm not awake and alert, what's going to keep that plane in the air?

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