Sunday, June 20, 2010

Assisting the Flight Crew

I fly a lot and it seems that lately the drama seems to follow me onto the airplanes. Recently the FBI met a flight I was on; you can read about that here.

Yesterday I was on Delta Airlines flight 1534 from ATL-IND. I was traveling with my wife and Donnie Payne, yes I know, yet another story that includes Donnie. Being a good friend, I had secured all three of us seats in the exit row. One of the flight attendants approach the exit row and asked us all to provide a verbal ‘yes’ that we understood we were sitting in the exit row and willing to help the crew if needed. We all said, “Yes.” Then she asked for a verbal ‘yes’ if we were able to give and receive instructions in English. We all again said, “Yes.”

As she turned to leave I leaned over to Donnie and said, “In Spanish too.” I didn’t think she heard me. I was just being my typical self making wise cracks.

A few minutes later the flight attendant returned and pointed to me and said, “Do you really speak Spanish?” I replied that I did and she said, “Come with me.” You don’t have to fly a lot to know that you are supposed to follow the instructions of the flight crew. So I got up and followed her up to the front of the plane. She pointed to an elderly Hispanic woman and asked if I could help her understand what she was saying.

I introduced myself to the woman and offered to help. She said that her bag had been taken from her when she got on the plane and she didn’t know where it was but she wanted to find it. She said it was a black bag full of books and that since it was heavy she needed help with it. We started checking the overhead bins but couldn’t find it so I asked her if it was taken from her before she got on the plane or after. She said it was as she got on the plane. That didn’t help as I was trying to figure out if it had been gate checked or not. I also couldn’t figure out why she was so concerned about these books.

By this time, another flight attendance came up and said she had taken her bag and it was in a bin behind further back on the plane. I told her but she wanted to see the bag and make sure the books were still in it. So we go the bag down, opened it up and sure enough it was full of a bunch of books. The lady smiled in relief and said they were books for her church. I told her we would put it back and since it was heavy, someone would help her get it down when we landed. She said thanks and I sat back down. The rest of the flight was uneventful.

Thus concludes my first official task helping a flight crew. Stay tuned, subduing an unruly passenger is probably in my future.