In-Flight Journal (written Thurs 20 Sept)

Tue Sep 25th, 2001 11:59:14 AM EST

Diary Entry 47
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I'm writing this from the passenger cabin of Northwest Flight 345 bound from Detroit, Mich. to San Francisco, Calif., more for general novelty value than anything else. The plane is a 757 with 42 rows of seats and six seats to a row here in cattle class, but of this total of approximately 250 seats I bet not more than 75 are occupied. I have this entire row to myself and the three rows ahead of me are entirely unoccupied.

The plane departed from DTW around 12:20 and we are expected to arrive at SFO at about 2:30 Pacific time or 5:30 Eastern time. It is currently 2:15 Eastern time so I have to somehow keep myself amused for another three hours. There is no way that the battery on this laptop can last that long.

Ooh, the captain's just turned off the fasten-seatbelts sign. Exciting! Well, it's about as exciting as things normally get on a flight, I guess.

In light of last Sept. 11, I've been thinking about what I'd do if someone were to try to do something untoward on a flight. It's no longer allowed to carry knives, but anyone trying to take over a flight is likely to have some kind of weapon—a distinct advantage that they'd have over passengers. On the other hand, the seat cushion floatation devices might make good shields, and I wonder whether it is practical to rip one of the plastic trays off its supports and use it as a weapon. Of course, if a meal's been served, there's the fork and knife from that, but they are sometimes flimsy plastic.

This morning when I checked in at Lansing airport (see my previous diary entry) I anticipated the possibility of checking in my bag full of fencing and stage combat swords. But there wasn't any problem with that, and I made it to Detroit uneventfully. The actual problem came up soon after boarding this flight to SFO. A guy came up to me and asked if I was Mr. Pfaff and would I please come with him. Seems that one of my bags was vibrating. So I went on out to the front of the plane, just outside the door, and looked through my bag. Neither of the electric razors were on, and I didn't have anything else electric in the bag. Bizarre. I should have taped their switches down or kept them in my carry-on bag, in hindsight. I hope that the bag made it into the luggage compartment before takeoff; otherwise I won't have any clothes or toiletries when I get to San Francisco.

I think I'm going to try to find something more interesting to do now. Maybe I'll try to work on GNU libavl.

Last updated 03 Apr 2004 21:17. Copyright © 2004 Ben Pfaff.
May be freely redistributed, but copyright notice must be retained.