I worked at an airport for 15 years. I was supervising the departure of a flight to Paris but we had a mechanical problem: engine change required = 24 hours of delay. It was a Sunday night and we sent all the passengers to the airport Hilton. The following day, the aircraft was ready to go and this lady asks to speak to a supervisor because she’s unhappy about this delay. So I go to meet her and her husband and listen to her complaint. She claimed that her husband and she had spent the previous evening calculating the cost of grounding the aircraft, sending everyone off to the hotel with meals and that it came out cheaper than letting a half-full flight across the Atlantic. Combining both flights (Sunday’s and Monday’s) would save the company loads of cash she says. So I stay calm and I politely explain to her that the aircraft hit a couple of birds during take off and that the engine was severely damaged and that we needed 24 hours to change it, which is pretty standard for an L-1011. That’s when it gets weird. She pokes her husband in the ribs and starts to laugh: “Oh honey, he’s trying to make me believe that planes need engines to fly!” The conversation lasted another 10 minutes during which she insulted me for taking her for a dummy because everyone knows that planes don’t fly with engines. She promised me that once back home in Paris, she was going to tell all her friends about this airline and get a lawyer. To this day, I imagine this French lady in a Chanel suit, sitting at a typical snotty French dinner and telling her snotty friends the story of the crazy Canadian airline worker who tried to convince her planes flew with engines.
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