Please, tell that to my wife
I showed up at the Fort Lauderdale airport on Monday afternoon for a nonstop flight to Los Angeles. Shortly after arriving at the aircraft a maintenance supervisor told me that the aircraft had a problem with a valve in the engine, and we were looking at a 3 hour delay. I walked out to the gate area to inform the agents working the flight. I hung out at the gate to answer questions and made a public address to the customers in the gate area. I explained what the problem was, why it needed to be fixed, and why it would take that long to do. I also told them that based on the time frame we would be arriving in LA between 1130 pm and 1230 am. The flight was booked with 183 passengers who of course all had different reasons for flying this flight on this day. So the questions began and I answered them all as quickly and honestly as I could. An elderly gentleman of about 80 told me he was going to be on the tonight show on Wednesday and would he get there in time. A young mother told me her daughter wanted to meet me, she was about 5 as she told me she was in kindergarten. One passenger wanted to know if we had a spare plane we could use. A concerned young women asked if she would be able to get a cheeseburger in-flight. A young gentleman was hoping to make a tight connection.
It was somewhere in this questioning that a man about 35 years of age approached me, held out his cell phone to me and asked, “Would you please tell my wife what you just told us, she doesn’t trust me.” Curious but baffled I put the phone to my ear and said, “This is the Captain speaking, how can I help you?” She wanted to know why we were delayed so I told her. One of the main reasons we needed the problem fixed was to have anti ice ability on the engine. There was weather we could possibly fly through and may have needed to heat up the engines at altitude to prevent ice buildup. The wife of the man told me that the weather was just fine in Los Angeles so we should just go without it. I told her that she was correct as it is part of my job to know all about the weather and not just in Los Angeles but the other 2,096 miles of airspace that we would travel through to get there. The weather of concern was 1000 miles away from her and I did not think she could see that far. I also told her she had a husband standing in front of me and it was my responsibility to make sure that later that night he would be safely standing in front of her. As she was agreeing with me and accepting my words I glanced up at the husband who had a look of relief on his face similar to the one a young boy has when he finally gets to pee. I told her I had to go as other customers were waiting to talk to me and handed the phone back to her husband who launched into a foreign language I could not understand but recognized as Middle Eastern. I can only assume his first words were “I told you so!”
The next person was a man about 30 years of age. He was about 6 foot 6 inches and looked like a professional wrestler. To my amazement he held out his Blackberry and asked if I would talk to his girlfriend. It was the same thing all over again! This impressive specimen of a man was shaking as he handed me the phone in relief. I introduced myself and asked her how is it she makes this guy shake from 2000 miles away. I was instantly her best friend. A brief explanation to her and I was done.
A decision was made to use an inbound aircraft for my flight and we took off about an hour and a half late. I can’t help but wonder what was going on in those couples lives that trust and the lack of it has become such a burden for them. In my game, trust is everything. Be safe, FlyGuy