Honolulu Lite

Charles Memminger

When flying was a blast,
in a good way

In these days when fear of flying is considered a normal affliction, it's hard to remember that flying in airplanes was once not only fun, but funny.

There was a time when you could make an airplane-related joke and not have to worry about being dragged from the aircraft by the sky marshal or the FBI. In fact, pilots and flight attendants took part in the merriment.

Like the time, after a fairly rough landing, a pilot could say over the loudspeaker, "Whoa, big fella. WHOA!" Today, officials would be telling that pilot, "So long, big fella."

A reader sent me some actual humorous incidents from the flying days of old, and since I'm feeling lazy today, I plan to insert them here forthwith.

Rough landings always caused droll comments from passengers and crew. Greeting passengers as they disembarked after a particularly rough landing, the captain was asked by an elderly lady, "Did we land or were we shot down?"

Attendants weren't as serious as they are now. In prepping for a fight, one attendant said: "In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, masks will drop down from the ceiling. Stop screaming, pull the mask over your face. If you have a small child, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are traveling with more than one small child, pick your favorite."

Another attendant allegedly told passengers: "Your seat cushions can be used for flotation. In the event of an emergency water landing, please paddle to shore and keep the cushions with our compliments."

And yet another attendant told passengers: "To operate your seat belt, insert the metal tab into the buckle and pull tight. If you don't know how to use one, you probably shouldn't be out in public unsupervised."

On another flight, shortly after taking off, the captain announced on the intercom: "Ladies and gentleman, this is your captain. The weather ahead is good, so we should have a smooth, uneventful flight. Now sit back and relax and &*#$%!!! ARGHH! OH, MY GOD!" After a moment of silence he came back on, saying, "Ladies and gentlemen, I'm sorry if I scared you earlier. While I was talking, the flight attendant brought me a cup of coffee and spilled the hot coffee in my lap. You should see the front of my pants!"

A passenger in the economy class said, "That's nothing. You should see the back of mine."

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Charles Memminger, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists' 2004 First Place Award winner for humor writing, appears Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. E-mail cmemminger@starbulletin.com



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