Saturday, July 01, 2006

Back from the Pacific

I've been traveling.  I love to travel.  My company had three regional sales meetings in two weeks, so I spent a few days in Montreal, a few days in Chicago, and one night in Laguna Beach, California.  As you would expect, Laguna Beach was the best.  My room was one flight of stairs and 30 feet from the beach.  It had an ocean view so I slept with the sliding door open to hear the rumbling waves all night long.  I actually tried to fall asleep outside on my balcony because it was such a unique experience to be sleeping so close to the ocean, but by midnight I realized the breaking waves were too thunderous to let me sleep.  I imagine that's what a tornado might sound like, except louder and sustained.

The flight out to Laguna Beach, however, not so great.  Departure from Philadelphia was delayed an hour due to maintenance (broken seatbelt in row 17) and then another hour on the tarmac waiting for our turn to take off.  So my two-hour layover in Las Vegas had dwindled to ten minutes, which is just the right amount of time to run through the airport and yet still miss the connection.  To avoid this fate, the flight attendants made the announcement they usually make in these situations: "Ladies and gentlemen, we have many passengers on this flight making tight connections, so if Las Vegas is your final destination these connecting passengers would appreciate if you would stay in your seats and let them off the plane first."  People never actually do that, though.  At the gate I ended up yelling from row 26: "Hey, folks up front -- I've got ten minutes for my connection -- would you mind clearing the aisle?"  I repeated it a couple of times, apologized for my volume, and dozens of people stayed in their seats to let the connecting passengers get off the plane.  I thanked them as I passed by those rows on my way up the aisle.

I was actually surprised that it had worked.  If flight attendants made their usual announcement after the "ding" that frees us from our seats at the gate instead of during descent, I think more people would extend the courtesy.  When the seatbelt sign goes off and they see that nobody's really staying seated, they do remember the announcement the flight attendant made, and they think sympathetically about those poor connecting passengers, but they figure "why should I wait when nobody else iS waiting?"  If nothing else, my experience shows that they will at least listen to a screaming woman.

1 comment:

  1. I know that I often listen to women of the screaming variety.