Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I live on the emergency exit row

Like many Las Vegas travelers, I fly Southwest a lot. There's no assigned seating, but it's generally understood in the industry which seat is mine: it's the window seat right behind the emergency exit door with no seat in front of it. There you'll find ample leg space that people in aisle seats would kill to have, and your choice of two windows. Also, unlike some seats in that area, this one reclines. Best of all, the pre-boarders aren't allowed to sit in the emergency exit rows, so the spot is easy to grab if you're among the first in line.

I suppose the only downside is the plain view of the wing during the flight, which may cause your imagination to wander into "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" scenarios. (That Twilight Zone episode is a lot less scary now that I'm an adult.)

My return flight yesterday stopped in Nashville, and the flight attendant (who dressed like Sean Hayes) asked me to recount his instructions from the first leg of the flight to the newly boarded passengers. Despite sounding miserable and congested (which I was), the show must go on.

"First of all, does everyone speak English?"

Laughter. But not a bad point. On my flight out last week, the passenger next to me had to be moved because he only spoke Spanish. It's not pretty, but you don't want the only barrier between being trapped in a plane and outside of one to be a language barrier.

"Okay, second, does anyone watch Lost?"

Less comfortable laughter. I could tell the steward was unprepared for that; it's just assumed that the grand literature of plane mishaps should remain unspoken. I let that pause hang for a split second and quickly followed up with "Because we'd be called the middies." Then I resumed proper instruction, right down to repeating, verbatim, his comparison of the exit door to that of a DeLorean.

Something tells me I would not get (nor would I deserve) this educational opportunity again, but if I did, maybe I'd bring the above visual aid -- the whole card can be found here.


K-Lyn said...

zbklYay! A Neel post that wasn't a movie review!

However it kinda should be. A movie that is. At least a comic scene within one. Perhaps your character is explaining the exit row responsiblities to the jittery romantic lead as jets across the world to stop the woman he loves from marrying the wrong guy...something like that.

To quote Galaxy Quest "Maybe you're the plucky comic relief, did you ever think about that?"

Mainline Mom said...

I wish you were giving the safety instructions on all my flights. I alway choose the seat you're speaking of, except when I'm visably pregnant. Even though I know I would be perfectly capable of removing the 50 lb door and directing people out, I think it might make people uneasy placing their lives in my hands.

Neel Mehta said...

K-Lyn: Like Hugh Laurie on Friends, the Emergency Exit Row guy would be honest, and tell the jittery romantic lead that he had no chance.

MM: Why the bias on their part? You're already responsible for twice as many lives as they are.