I gotta stop traveling

Somewhere over Montana, our pilot announced there was a malfunction in the food heaters in the front of the plane (used for first class; the unclean masses in coach can purchase an unheated Box O’ Salty Snacks for five buckaroos), so we would be turning around.  Odd – the safety concern is great enough that they won’t continue to Boston, but not enough to land immediately.  Rather, since Alaska Airlines is based in Seattle, we’d fly the 1.2 hours back where there are parts and planes and eight-thousand varieties of coffee and rain and stuff.

There was spike of activity up front as a visibly-worried attendant barked something on the internal phone.  An oxygen bottle was brought from the back.  The pilot announced we’ll be landing in Spokane, because a flight attendant was “ill from the fumes.”  Ill was an understatement.  The poor woman looked like she’d just checked her 401(k) for the first time since August: she was shaking violently, tearing up, and faint.  She went through a couple of oxygen bottles during the final approach.

After the flight attendant was escorted out to an ambulance, a couple of technicians boarded to investigate:

Is this about the airline food?
Who had the fish?

I couldn’t access my camera while they were actually in the plane, but the respirators they wore conveyed some seriousness.  Ten minutes later, they let us off the plane.

To Alaska’s credit, the Spokane crew did a commendable job of keeping  us informed of what they were doing.  Initially this was “we don’t have a plan right now, but we will have one in twenty minutes.”  And they did.  That level of honesty is the exception these days.  I do think they should have comped us a soft drink or food during the three-hour wait, especially considering the length of the flight.  However, I scored some leftover pizza when some guy’s kids didn’t like pepperoni.

The next two and a half weeks looks roughly like this:

  • 10/8 – 10/12 – Boston
  • 10/13 – 10/15 – State College, PA
  • 10/16 – 10/17 – Bethesda/DC area?
  • 10/18 – Massive geocaching binge
  • 10/19 – Columbus, OH
  • 10/20 – Providence, RI day trip?
  • 10/21 – 10/24  – Columbus, OH

7 thoughts on “I gotta stop traveling”

  1. How disturbing! And that hazard suit is classic. As in classic sci-fi spacesuit. 🙂 Anyway, what a weird incident. A malfunctioning food heater doesn’t seem enough reason to turn around (could be quite common; on my trip to Japan, where even the unwashed masses rate a hot meal, I ended up with cold pasta; the attendant apologized because the “heaters weren’t working”) — but one that’s venting toxic fumes seems much more of a reason to get back to the ground. Glad you’re safe!

  2. Dude looks like somebody I know, cleaning out the attic insulation.

    Aggressive travel schedule… product rollout, I presume? Here’s to hopin’ all your cavity searches go smoothly!

  3. It was an absolutely gorgeous afternoon here, clear and sunny and sparkling. I had a meeting in the city this morning, and I was coming across the bridge around noon-ish, and I thought, hm, I could give Jim Carson a ring and see if he’s available for lunch. But too bad for both of us – you weren’t in, and I just rode on home and had lunch without you.

    Poor you, to be on the road so much – and to miss such wonder cycling weather!

  4. When are those food replicators coming on line? You never saw THEM creating any problems with the Enterprise. Wait…I take that back. I can think of three episodes off the top of my head.

  5. You really do have to stop traveling but yeah, I can imagine the honesty is nice. We flew Southwest at the beginning of the month for the first time since 2001 (BWI was a nightmare for the first 18 months after *it* happened) and the efficiency and lack of B.S. was stunningly wonderful.

    I’m up to my neck in election stuff but if you want to try to get together for a cup of coffee (we’ve only got a couple thousand varieties in the DC metro area) let me know.

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