We are quickly approaching the time of year when many of us will be on airplanes, going to visit family members or staying some place warm. I have flown several times in the past years, and I never really am concerned about being safe.
I also don’t fly on a United Parcel Service (UPS) plane, which I believe basically holds packages, plus the crew. All that is good for me, as you will see. I’ll take regular passenger jets for my travel, as we enjoy some UPS humor.
After every flight, UPS pilots fill out a form called a gripe sheet, which tells mechanics about problems with the aircraft. The mechanics correct the problems, document their repairs on the form, and then pilots review the gripe sheets before the next flight.
Never let it be said that ground crews lack a sense of humor. Here are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by UPS pilots (marked with a P) and the repairs recorded (marked with an S) by maintenance engineers.
By the way, UPS is the only major airline that has never had an accident … hmmm.
P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire.
P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.
P: Dead bugs on windshield.
S: Live bugs on back-order.
P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
S: Evidence removed.
P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
S: That’s what friction locks are for.
P: IFF inoperative in OFF mode.
S: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.
P: Number 3 engine missing.
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search.
P: Aircraft handles funny. (I love this one!)
S: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right and be serious.
P: Target radar hums.
S: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.
Then we have Kulula Airline. It is a passenger airline, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. All airline attendants put forth an effort to make the in-flight “safety lecture” and announcements a bit more entertaining. I have also experienced some of this on Southwest Airlines, where that flight attendant said as we landed, “It’s just like my mother said, when I was 18, get your stuff and get out.” Everyone laughed.
On a Kulula flight, (there is no assigned seating – you just sit where you want) passengers were apparently having a hard time choosing, so a flight attendant announced, “People, people, we’re not picking out furniture here, find a seat and get in it!”
On another flight with a very “senior” flight attendant crew, the pilot said, “Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve reached cruising altitude and will be turning down the cabin lights. This is for your comfort and to enhance the appearance of your flight attendants.”
On landing, the stewardess said, “Please be sure to take all of your belongings. If you’re going to leave anything, please make sure it’s something we’d like to have.”
“There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only four ways out of this airplane.”
As the plane landed and was coming to a stop at Durban Airport, a lone voice came over the loudspeaker: “Whoa, big fella. WHOA!”
After a particularly rough landing during thunderstorms in the Karoo, a flight attendant announced, “Please take care when opening the overhead compartments because, after a landing like that, sure as heck everything has shifted.”
“In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a small child travelling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are traveling with more than one small child, pick your favorite.”
Then she continued, “Your seat cushions can be used for flotation; and in the event of an emergency water landing, please paddle to shore and take them with our compliments.”
And finally, a flight attendant said this on a Kulula flight into Cape Town on a particularly windy and bumpy day (during the final approach, the captain really had to fight it and made an extremely hard landing):
“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to The Mother City. Please remain in your seats with your seat belts fastened while the captain taxis what’s left of our airplane to the gate!”
An airline pilot wrote that on this particular flight he had hammered his ship into the runway really hard. The airline had a policy which required the first officer to stand at the door while the passengers exited, smile, and tell them, “Thanks for flying our airline.” He said that, but in light of his bad landing, he had a hard time looking the passengers in the eye, thinking that someone would have a smart comment. Finally everyone had exited except for a little old lady walking with a cane. She said, “Sir, do you mind if I ask you a question?”
“Why, no Ma’am,” said the pilot. “What is it?”
The little old lady said, “Did we land, or were we shot down?”
It’s important to keep our sense of humor at all times!
(Melanie Behrens – email@example.com)
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