Southwest’s trademark hilarity started on my way down the jetway when a phone rang. “It’s for you,” said the jetway attendant, extending the phone to the woman trying to board ahead of me.
The woman laughed and pushed his hand away. The jetway attendant returned the phone to his ear and said, “She doesn’t want to talk to you right now and I can’t say that I blame her. Apparently, you’re the reason she’s leaving on a jet plane. Can I take a message?”
I bit my lip and boarded the plane, trembling with laughter.
“We have no assigned seating on any Southwest flights and you are free to sit in a seat of your own choosing,” said a male flight attendant over the microphone. “However, I would like to offer first-time passengers a word of advice. Do not sit next to anyone who is naked. You will find that naked people on a plane cannot be trusted.”
“Widely known fact,” chuckled the man behind me.
I giggled like an idiot, found a seat and waited for the obligatory, boring safety announcements to begin.
“Direct your attention to the flight attendants standing in front of you as they will be demonstrating how to fasten your seatbelt,” boomed the male voice through the microphone again. “Everyone needs to wear a seatbelt because this airplane is going to be going very…very…very fast. If you don’t know how to operate a seatbelt, we will help you locate the person who is supposed to be supervising you while you are out and about in public.”
“There may be fifty ways to leave your lover, but I assure you, there are only six ways to leave this aircraft so please pay attention,” said the voice. “The flight attendant in the aisle is indicating the exits with her hands.”
“If you’re traveling with small children or someone acting like a small child today…I’m sorry,” continued the disembodied voice. “In the unlikely event we lose cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the compartments above you. Place it over your nose and mouth first. Next, please decide which child has the most potential or is the least likely to place you in a nursing home when you are older and the secure their oxygen mask before helping the other little ingrates that may be travelling with you.”
“Also, in the unlikely event we land near water today and you have to get wet. You may keep the lovely yellow party vest and the seat cushion from this airplane to make up for any inconvenience this type of landing may have caused you, compliments of Southwest Airlines.”
“Of course, this is a non-smoking flight. Federal law prohibits tampering with, disabling, or destroying any smoke detector in an airplane lavatory. In addition to the large fine imposed by the federal government for this offense, the flight attendants will ask you to step outside and hold onto one of the plane’s wings for the duration of the flight. So remember, if your grip isn’t what it used to be, smoking is not advised.”
“Lastly, if there is something you’d like to make this trip more enjoyable, please mention it…to someone who cares when we’ve reached our final destination.”
Was our comedian done yet? Hardly! He easily took the edge of our nerves like a pro when the plane hit some pretty significant turbulents. “Would the children in the back of the plane please sit down and stop rocking the plane? This is not a Ferris wheel ride,” he said sternly.
When we landed at O’Hare, the plane spent an inordinate amount of time taxiing to the gate. The seasoned flight attendant could tell we were getting annoyed and antsy. “Welcome to Chicago,” he said. “Here at Southwest we fly you halfway and drive you the rest of the way. That’s how we keep our prices so low. Let’s face it, if you could afford a higher airfare, you’d be flying first class on a different airline. While we are taxiing, please keep your seat-belts securely fastened until you hear the ding indicating the pilot has turned off the Fasten Seat-belt sign.”
A few minutes later I heard the ding and before I could unclick my seat-belt the flight attendant bellowed, “Okay, get out!”
I got out, but I’ll be more than happy to get on again Southwest Airlines. Well done!