An urban myth claims that crashed planes have a higher cancellation rate than ones that arrive safely. There are no statistics to support this claim. Psychologist say people create such stories to make themselves feel better about flying. After all, your higher sense of self preservation would prevent you from getting on a doomed plane.
I was taking a late flight and the gate area was mostly deserted. I was eating a fast food burger and watching a couple at the last chance slot machines, I've always said McCarin in Las Vegas is just a casino with an airport theme. I was chuckling because the guy was playing slots but his companion was telling him what to do. Is there a cashier cage in the airport? I had no idea.
I didn't know why but I really didn't want to fly that night. Perhaps it was just the usual end of vacation funk, maybe it was the long trek ahead of me or maybe it was just the late hour. Whatever it was I really wasn't looking forward to this flight.
One of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes is called Twenty Two. The basic story is a woman has a nervous breakdown and winds up in the hospital. While there she keeps having the same lucid dream about a nurse walking down a hall. She follows and they wind up at room 22, which just happens to be the morgue. The nurse turns around and says "Room for one more". The woman screams and runs back to her bed.
The doctors assure the woman that there is no room 22 or a morgue in the hospital and nobody on staff resembles the description of the nurse. They chalk the dream up to the woman's breakdown and subscribe her sleeping pills.
The woman recovers and is heading home. She goes to the airport where the events of her dream start coming true, the clock strikes the same hour, someone breaks a glass like in her dream and she just happens to be on flight 22. As she climbs the stairs to the plane (it was the early 60'sbefore the invention of the walkway) and who is the stewardess on the flight? Yep, it's the nurse, and she just happens to say "Room for one more honey" The woman screams and runs back into the terminal and collapses in terror. And you can guess what happens next, the plane crashes in a huge fireball killing everyone on board.
After a short wait the incoming plane arrived and we boarded. There was the standard crowd of people who first had to line up in front of the gate despite their section not being called. Then there was the wait as people tried to jam their overstuffed carry on bags in the overhead compartment. Finally everyone settled down and we taxied to the runway. I don't know why but I just didn't want to be on that plane. It wasn't the trip anymore but the plane itself.
We took off without incident and the clouds cleared just long enough for me to get a great view of the Hoover Dam lit up at night. Even thisspectacular view didn't cheer up my mood. I was hoping we got to Phoenix in record time. I tried to sleep but the best I could do was a light doze, the kind where you are half asleep and half awake. Are we there yet?
There's a scene in the movie Fight Club where Edward Norton's character ( who doesn't have a name) is on a flight and is half asleep. He is looking out the window when he sees another plane coming right at them. The plane smashes into his flight and he watches the cabin get torn to pieces. He wakes up to find himself sitting next to Tyler Durden, played by Brad Pitt, and his life changes drastically.
We finally began our decent into Phoenix. As we circled the city I became very impatient, I just wanted to be on the ground. I wanted off this plane and as quickly as possible but it seemed like we were taking forever, even though we probably landed quicker than normal due to the lateness of the hour and the fewer flights at that time of year. I was never so happy when we touched down and taxied to the gate area. Just open the door and let me off.
The wost airline disaster occurred on the island of Temerofe off the coast of Spain. Several major airlines had been diverted to the tiny airport after a terrorist attack has shut down a mainland airport. Ground fog and miss communication, along with a KLM pilots attempt to maintain his on time record resulted in his plane trying to take off directly into the path of a landing Pan Am 747. 583 passengers and crew were killed in the crash and the international flight committee changed the rules regarding take offs and landing.
I never understood why the minute the plane stops rolling people jump up into the aisle to grab their overstuffed bags out of the overhead compartment. The walkway won't be connected to the plane for a good five minutes and nobody is really going anywhere. I prefer to sit and wait, even though I wanted to get off this plane as quickly as possible.
As I sat there I looked out the window, there was a guy with a flashlight walking around under the wing. I figured he was doing a standard check and put it out of my mind, until the second guy walked up. The new guy was wearing a dress shirt and a tie and was also inspecting the bottom side of the wing, he sure didn't look like the ground crew. I didn't really think that much about it until the first guy pointed his flashlight at the tarmac, there was a puddle of clear liquid, about the size of a serving platter, and then he pointed it further up the wing to another puddle about the size of a large dinner plate. This was not normal. The cabin door opened up and I got off that plane as quickly as I could.
Later when chatting with a pilot friend on Twitter I found out the puddle were more than likely jet fuel. The pilots on the flight must have known about the leak since the ground crew began the inspection as soon as we landed. I was grateful it was a short flight.
They say there is no such thing as ESP and people only believe they would know not to get on a dangerous flight to make themselves feel better about flying.