Just a thought… Don’t let the behaviour of others destroy your inner peace. [Dalai Lama]
My thoughts – and yours, too, I’m sure – are with the people of the Ottawa region who were hit so hard by two tornadoes on Friday. As I write this, Phil, Brooke and Colin are safe and cozy at home in one of the areas affected by the storms, but are in Day 3 without power. That’s a lot of wasted food, I’m afraid. And they’re without WiFi, too, which Brooke tells me is the hardest part.
But they’re safe – that’s the best news. I hope that all of my Ottawa friends and acquaintances, a few of whom I saw in Regina with CREA last week, are also faring as well as one can after such a devastating series of weather events.
Travel can bring the best and worst out in people. That’s no stark, revelatory statement; just talk to anyone who flies a lot and they’ll tell you horror stories, pet peeves and tales to make you vow to keep your feet on the ground.
I learned something on a recent flight and that knowledge just added to my increasing ire. I ended up landing in lovely Victoria in a rather foul mood. I’m sure Rob thought it was him, although how could you be angry with someone who buys you dahlias when you’ve only been gone for 32 hours? (I definitely should have taken the Dalai Lama’s words to heart.)
While flying home from Regina on Thursday afternoon (and this was the view out the window of our small Air Canada plane)….
…my seatmate and I were offered drinks. As he paid for his wine with a credit card, I asked our flight attendant if airlines would ever allow payment by Tap. In case you’re not familiar, Tap is a method I use constantly. You load your credit card info into your phone and then, provided the purchase is under $100, you simply hold your thumb to your ID button, put your phone near the payment device and, just like that, you’ve paid. I love it and thank Michelle Butterly from CHFI for teaching me how to use it! (She’s always been way ahead of me on the app curve.)
The answer to my question about getting Tap was “probably not.” It would mean installing cellular components on the plane just for that (this plane most definitely was not equipped for anything except getting off the ground, staying in the air, and landing safely). The equipment is said to be quite heavy and a small plane like this couldn’t handle it.
Also, she informed us that cellular signals on a plane can interfere with the pilots’ communication. She told us of a flight recently where, before landing, a passenger turned on his phone and was having a conversation which was actually picked up BY THE FLIGHT CREW up front. Yes, the pilot/co-pilot could hear the man’s phone conversation. Our flight attendant told us that they had considered making an announcement, but didn’t – not sure why.
Wow. It actually interferes with the communications between pilots and the tower. I mean, I assumed that, but this is serious.
I heard a passenger on another flight lament that “she has it in for you, dude” after being told twice to switch his phone into airplane mode. I was a bit incredulous: some people act like they’ve never been on a plane before or didn’t hear the announcement that it was time to switch off phones, etc.. Completely oblivious. For some reason, they think it’s some vast conspiracy to prevent them personally from having any fun and, obviously, the rules don’t apply to them. So they ignore them.
That was exactly the case with the man seated next to me on the blessedly short hop from Vancouver to Victoria Thursday afternoon. Dressed in a sharp suit and wing tip shoes, he had a neatly cropped beard and looked all business. Clearly he was important (!) as he had to be told by the flight attendant to put his phone on airplane mode. So he did. Then about two minutes later, he turned it on again and started texting.
Okay, I thought, we haven’t taken off yet; he’s just finishing up. Nope. He turned his phone on and texted at least ten more times in the course of our short flight.
I just wonder what it is that makes people think rules aren’t for them. The ones who blow through stop signs or think standing in line is for losers. Maybe it’s time the airlines were a little more graphic in the reason for their rules about turning off our phones. One article I read recently suggests that as many as 40 percent of air travellers don’t turn off their phones during flights.
I don’t care to die just because buddy next to me has to keep up a conversation with someone (and no, I’m not that much of a Gladys Kravitz that I was peering over to see what this important exchange was all about).
But I don’t want his selfishness to affect my – and everyone else’s – safety. Is that so wrong?