Like half the country, I watched the landing of the Jet Blue airplane at LAX last night. The phone was ringing off the hook. Family and friends all had questions and comments:
Whew! Good! I was hoping you weren’t on that flight.
I don’t fly for Jet Blue, and never have. You’d think family and friends would remember which airline I work for, but when a drama is playing out in front of them, all they can think about is knowing that you are on the ground and safe.
Can you believe it? The pilots landed the plane and everything is fine.
Yes, I can believe it. I fly with these people all the time. While we joke and kid, and occasionally argue, they are exactly who I want flying the plane when there’s a dicey situation. These men and women know their stuff, and are worth every penny (and more) that they make.
How come nobody went down the slides?
It’s always a good thing when people get to walk off of a plane, rather than slide down the emergency evacuation slides. People get hurt coming off slides, either because they aren’t following instructions on how and when to evacuate or because they aren’t getting the help they need at the end of the slide. I was VERY glad to see the stairs roll up to the plane for people to walk off.
How come the flight attendants were chanting “Brace, Brace?”
Because that, or a similar command, is what we are trained to do. It's been shown to be the most effective way to get people to follow instructions and assume a position that's safe for an emergency landing. We continue shouting it out to remind you to stay in the brace position. If we stop, people may stop bracing and think it’s okay to stand up and leave the plane.
So how about those flight attendants?
Yeah! How about ‘em! Every day we pass out peanuts and sodas, worry about pay cuts, and fend off comments about how lucky we are to even have a job. On those days that an emergency demands our attention aren't you lucky that we have our job. In an emergency, the pilot’s job is to put the plane on the ground; the flight attendant’s job is to get everyone safely off the plane. And aren’t you glad we do.
Kudos to the flight and cabin crew of Jet Blue flight #292. I am very proud to share the sky with you!