airplane 311 (R).
(photo credit: Reuters)
I collect flight safety cards from airplanes. It’s a felony, I think, depending
on which country you’re in, but they come in handy in my comedy
I’ve always wondered what the purpose of a flight safety card
manual really is. I mean, if the plane is going down, it won’t matter if you can
see the lights down the aisle, or know where the emergency exit is.There were no
survivors in any of the plane crashes I covered as a reporter in
In general, people either survive plane crashes or they don’t,
and if they do, chances are the plane wasn’t in that much trouble
oes anyone actually follow along with the flight attendants when
they ask you to pull out the flight safety manual when the plane is preparing
for takeoff? Seriously – if you see someone actually reading the flight safety
manual, chances are that person is a terrorist. I mean, who else would want to
know more about the flight than terrorists hoping to light their shoes,
underwear or G-strings on fire? Did you ever actually listen to the flight
attendants when they walk you through the flight safety manual? I have, and it
“Your seat cushion can be used as a flotation device in the
event of a water landing,” they will tell you. Water landing? That’s called a
I especially love when they stand in the aisle, hold up a buckle
and explain how to buckle yourself in. Really. Will it make that much of a
difference? Maybe if the plane drops 5,000 feet, but my guess is even with the
belt buckled the experience won’t be pretty.
So far – knock on wood – I
have never been on a bad flight, just flights full of bad people. Passengers who
actually refuse to check their bags and carry five of them onto the flight and
cram them in to the overhead bins.
Those overhead bins are about the only
real danger that you can avoid. Everything else is unavoidable.
collection of flight safety manuals is huge. I have one from British Airways
that actually contains a list of things you can’t bring on a plane. But that
frightens me even more – that people actually need to be told not to bring those
things on planes.
No bombs. No weapons. No weapons of mass
A security guard at an airport asked me once if I had any
weapons of mass destruction on me. I replied that I was a weapon of mass
destruction; just before the flight, I had eaten an entire big bowl of tabouleh.
That combination of cracked wheat (burghul), vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil
is potent in a way that you don’t want to express in print or in public, if you
get my whiff! I took another one from United Airlines, and when I was on a
Canadian flight, they even encouraged me to take it. That’s the rebellious
spirit of the Canadians.
I took one from an El Al flight once. They sent
the Mossad to hunt me down and told me if I ever took another flight safety
manual from an El Al flight, they were going to go to Ramallah and destroy the
homes of three of my relatives. I told them I didn’t have any relatives in
Ramallah. They said they didn’t care.
They should have flight manuals
that tell you how to get a good snack box, or a glass of wine, or when the best
time to go to the bathroom is. It never fails that when I have to go, so does
Maybe they see me walking up the aisle with my swarthy
complexion and dark eyes and hair and follow me as a safety precaution.
went to the bathroom on an El Al flight once, but the sign didn’t say
“occupied.” It said “disputed toiletry area.”
Of course, this could all
be just a joke. Is it a smart thing to admit in print that you collect flight
safety manuals? Probably not.
But then again, if they do come to get me,
I’ll have flight safety manual for every possible airplane occasion.The
writer is a Palestinian American writer and Chicago radio talk show host.