CHEAPO AIRLINES – When Once Is Enough

by Melanie White

            My finances have been pretty tight lately. So when I travel, I try to find the airline with the lowest fare.  I found out that this was a mistake just recently when I booked a flight on Cheapo Airlines.

            Everything seemed normal at first.  When I checked in, they asked me if I wanted a window or an aisle seat.  I chose an aisle seat.  What they didn’t tell me was that I would actually be sitting in the aisle.  I felt really sorry for the people with the wndow seats.

            I should have had a clue about how bad it was going to be when the guy taking my boarding pass said:  “Good luck.  I hope you believe in reincarnation.”

            As I was walking to the plane, I noticed a farmer plowing a field nearby.   I also noticed that all the planes had bumper stickers.  On the tail of one of the planes I walked by, it said, “We brake for birds.”  Unfortunately, I got on one that had a bumper sticker that read, “out to lunch.”

            After finding my place in the aisle, I decided to call for a stewardess, excuse me, flight attendant, to ask for a pillow, hoping it would make me a little more comfortable.  But instead of a call button, all I could find was a panic button.  I was about to push it when the flight attendant came on to give us the safety instructions.

            One of the first things she told us was that our seats would double as flotation devices.  I wondered how in the world this could possibly help any of us since we wouldn’t be flying over any water.

            Then, to my amazement, instead of showing us how to use the oxygen masks, the flight attendant was showing how to operate a parachute.  She went on to ask:  “Should an emergency arise, how many of you know how to pilot a plane?”  I looked around, but nobody raised their hand.

            I was ready to get off right then, but it was too late.  The farmer had finished his plowing, and we were cleared for takeoff.  Then all of a sudden, I felt the plane shaking and moving.  The pilot came on the speaker to reassure us:  Don’t worry about the in-flight turbulence.  It won’t be nearly as bad as the earthquake we’re having right now.”

            I wondered if this might possibly be the pilot I had read about who the FAA had punished for drinking on the job.  But it couldn’t be since the article said he had been grounded and sent to his hanger.

            When we finally managed to take off, the pilot was right about the turbulence being better.  At this point I thought it would be a good idea to call someone.  Reach out and touch someone before I bit the big one.  Unfortunately the only number I could dial was 911.  

            I thought this was a pretty good idea, especially when I saw flames shooting up from the engine which set off the smoke alarm which in turn activated the sprinkler system.  As soon as the plane began to flood, I found out why we needed to use the cushions as flotation devices.

            The pilot then informed us that we’d have to make a crash landing.  That was the stupidest thing, I had ever heard since I figured we could either crash or we could land. We couldn’t do both.            Soon the water began to rise, and we started to run out of air.  Then someone had the bright idea that we should pull open the emergency exit door.  Although I’ve always hated to deplane before landing, I found myself being sucked out of the plane, and I realized that I really should have been paying attention when the flight attendant was giving the parachute instructions.  I found myself clinging desperately to my flotation device, realizing that I never put on the parachute.