Happy Passengers At Wrong Airport

imagesWhat, Me Worry?
Mad Magazine, Alfred E. Newman

“How Could That Happen?” I say aloud, but really talking to myself.

Mr. Wonderful* replies somewhat distracted, “How could what happen?”

He is lounging in his favorite sunny spot on the couch doing the New York Times crossword puzzle with an ink pen. I sit nearby, viewing a you tube video on my laptop.

“How could an airplane land at the wrong airport?”

“I haven’t a clue,” he says mimicking Brad Hawkins, a spokesperson for Southwest who said, “There is no explanation.”

Evidently, wrong airport landings happen.

In this particular incident the pilot brought the plane to a screeching halt to avert falling onto the interstate.

Brad announced that Southwest would refund tickets and provide future travel credit, whatever that means.

Passengers, waiting for bus transportation to the right airport, smiled and called the pilot a hero.

How could Southwest make this blunder? I love Southwest; there are no fees for checking luggage, or to change a flight. Plus, on the flight home from Albuquerque New Year’s Day, the flight attendant sang to us.

“Whatever happened to air traffic controllers? Don’t they tell pilots when and where to land. Remember, when Regan threatened to fire all of them, did he?

“Claudia, that was in 1981, they’ve probably been replaced with technology.”

“Like a GPS or Bluetooth.”

“I haven’t a clue. What’s a six letter word for gabardine?”

“Fabric, that’s what happened.”

“What’s what happened?”

“Technology, automation and pilots forgetting how to fly, there are two articles online. Do you think the pilot was texting or taking a selfie, maybe he fell asleep like the conductor of that Metro-North Train?”

“That conductor is not being charged; neither drugs, nor alcohol were involved and falling asleep isn’t a crime.”

“Not even if you’re driving a train?”

“Guess not, the investigation of the wrong airport thing should be interesting.”

“Technology is to blame; those stupid voice commands don’t work. You know what happens when we use it. We say phone Janine, and the Blue Tooth repeats, ‘phone Judy’.  We say no, it says ‘phone Janice’, we yell louder NOOOOOOOOOOO Phone JJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJanine. The automated system phones Judy. We disconnect and try again. This time the commands say press one to phone Judy, press two to phone Janice and Janine isn’t in the mix. We hang up, grab the cell, and dial Janine’s number. I’m sure that’s what happened to the pilot.”

“Right Claudia, you’re right, you’re always right.”

“No think about it, replace Janine with airport code BKG, Judy with MGC and Janice with KBGB and you’ll see what I mean. The pilot’s ‘automatic pilot’ kicked in and he landed the plane without any annoying automation.  No worry it was the wrong airport, the passengers were happy.”

. . . . just saying  

*Mr. Wonderful is my husband of 43 years.