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My duty

Another question from the long list that I will answer with a blog post from April 2008.

Are you afraid of flying in airplanes? (How come?)

On my trip to America I had the best seat I could have for economy class on the 9 hour flight over the ocean. I was seated over the wing on that big plane. There was a wall in front of me, but it was so far away I had to take my seatbelt off to reach the magazines in the rack. Lots of leg room! I loved it. As we were preparing to take off the flight attendant came by and asked me and the man sitting next to me if we spoke German or English. I replied, “yes, English.” The man sitting next to me just looked at her. She asked him again…English? He said yes. I had my doubts, but she seemed to be satisfied. She handed us a card that we needed to read concerning how to open the exit door over the wing, how to inflate the slide, and how we were supposed to help the passengers in case of an emergency. I read over the English portion of the card and looked at the pictures. It was quite interesting how much they expected me to remember in the case of an emergency. Look out the window for debris, fire or black smoke. If you see any of these don’t open the door, but direct the passengers to an alternate exit. Once the door has been opened wait for the slide to inflate. Make sure it is inflated all the way by observing the stop sign printed on it. Once the slide is ready the sign will disappear. One person stands in the doorway to help assist passengers out of the exit. The other stands at the bottom of the slide helping people as they come down it. It seemed easy enough…if I could remember it when the time came…if the time ever came. The man turned his card over several times from the German side to the English side finally settling on English. Hmmmm. There were pictures as well so if he wasn’t getting the English maybe he could tell what he was supposed to do from the pictures. The flight attendant came back and asked if we understood what we read on the card and if we were willing to perform the tasks required of us if necessary. I was thinking that I would do whatever they needed me to do if I could keep the seat with all the legroom! I answered her with a hearty yes I can! She looked at the man next to me and asked him again since he didn’t answer her the first time. His response…”it’s clear“. Ok. I guess that he got it. I still wasn’t convinced though.I had a cold when I got on the plane so at this point I decide to take some Nyquil. I downed those pills and immediate thought…oh no. Wait. What if I have to perform my emergency duties while under the influence of Nyquil? Will I be able to do it? Surely a potential plane crash would sober me up! As I drifted off to sleep thinking about the poor man next to me and his limited English and me in my drowsy state I figured out how we could work it if we did indeed need to offer our services to distraught passengers. After the door was opened and the slide was inflated I could go down it to help at the bottom. The man could stand in the exit, look out at the emergency slide and say the three English words I was sure he knew. Yes, it’s clear.

 The actual answer to the question, “Are you afraid of flying in airplanes?” is no, but that didn’t make for good blogging.

One response »

  1. My brother had to go down one of those emergency chutes one time. A small boy slid down after him then turned and said, “That was fun! Can I go down again?”


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