Sunday, December 30, 2012

I'll Fly Away...

My Badge of Honor
There are interesting things about flying as a long time Road Warrior. I have flown 2.7 million miles on American Airlines and a little under 300,000 on United and then probably another couple of hundred thousand on other airlines. So, I am a 3 million miler and yet the more I fly, the more I wonder why I would want to continue?

I have some amazing stories that include 13 missed approaches, a bomb scare re-direct to my hometown of Albuquerque (San Francisco to Dallas flight), a clear air turbulence drop that resulted in two broken legs for a flight attendant, an in-flight fire in the bathroom (electrical short that produced mostly smoke), an emergency landing in Phoenix due to a landing gear malfunction, sitting on a flight next to a survivor of an Eastern Airlines flight at Boston Logan many years prior, sitting next to Mel Brooks and his now late wife Anne Bancroft (Mrs. Robinson), and the most interesting, an entire law enforcement SWAT team awaiting my arrival in Houston after a flight attendant on my flight from LA thought that I looked like a child murderer whose composite drawing had been distributed to all the airlines before we left LA.

Look, I know full well that flying is safer than every single trip I take to and from the airport. That said, I have been accustomed to my interesting stories coming in intervals separated by numerous segments. Heck, in 2005 I made 155 flights with nary a problem other than some pesky delays (understated for sure). It should be noted that as a 16 year old private pilot I once overshot a runway and wrecked a perfectly nice Cessna 172 (no injuries except for a bruised ego). The latter has nothing to do with commercial air travel, but is nonetheless an interesting flying story involving me.

And now, over 3 million miles in, my last 3 flights in a row have included interesting landings. They were all in jumbos, a 777, the new 787 and recently a 767. The last two were made in very strong cross-winds and the 777 landing was in perfect summer weather; okay, if you call making an approach with the temps near 100 degrees as perfect!

I am not trying to dissuade people from flying and I certainly do not intend to stop (next flight is on January 13). I am just sitting here reflecting on my travels and wondering why I have had 3 straight flights with dramatic endings?

I suppose I should take the advice of Robin Williams in the film "The World According to Garp" (a somewhat different but related context). "I will take it (the next flight) because I have been pre-disastered!"

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