Saturday, June 04, 2005

Room 101

OK, let's hope Alan isn't coincidentally planning on blogging about this.

And this week's candidate is... airline safety announcements.

Now I know this is all very well-meant. But is it necessary? When you get into a car, you don't get a recorded announcement telling you to put your seat belt on, and to steer clear of crazed-looking individuals in white vans. And yet, car accidents are much more common and survivable.

Now I'm not a particularly nervous flyer. I know it's much safer than driving, and every activity has it's risks; about 500 people a year die from falling down stairs. So I don't worry unduly. But I do believe that flying accidents are "all or nothing". If something happens, there is much less chance of surviving. So why all that safety palaver at the start of the flight?

I always smile when the flight crew get the life jackets out and start talking about what would happen "in the unlikely possibility of landing on water". Unlikely? I'll say it's unlikely! We're in a large, heavy metal object flying several thousand feet above the ocean. Now I'm no expert in physics, but if something goes wrong and we start hurtling towards the sea at hundreds of miles an hour, the only way we're going to "land on water" is if Jesus is in the cockpit and he wants to repeat that whole Sea of Galilee thing (is that where he walked on water, and is that the right number of Ls?).

Actually, The Scotsman and I usually buy a litre bottle of water to stop us getting dehydrated when we fly, so if the free booze has run out, Jesus might be quite handy there!

And what about that position that you're supposed to adopt when you're going to crash? The one where you put your head down towards your knees? I have two problems with this. The first is the obvious one, in that, if a metal cylinder travelling at great speed, loaded with huge amounts of highly flammable airline fuel, explodes or crashes into something, I'm unconvinced that having my head in a slightly different position will affect the outcome. Not a lot of help for the poor people heading towards The World Trade Centre, was it?

But apart from that, there's the general indignity of it. If the meal has already been served, then surely it means that you put your face in it? I don't know how I would feel if I were about to meet my maker. In a metaphorical, not necessarily Christian sense. Rather than nipping up to the cockpit to meet the theoretical Jesus pilot, unless the flight crew had run out of wine, in which case it might be worth a shot. But I'd rather that I didn't turn up to meet St Peter at The Pearly Gates wearing watery mashed potato and a disappointingly small piece of chicken on my face, whilst trying to dislodge a mini Toblerone from my nostril.

Or is the whole point of the safety drill to give the male flight crew (and we wouldn't want to stereotype male flight crew, honestly) a chance to practice some choreographed arm movements in advance of the staff Christmas disco version of YMCA?


Blogger Clare said...

Haha yes, good point.

11:04 am  

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