Saturday, April 12

Good to know

I flew home today. It was a packed flight but I got a window seat. About 15 minutes into the flight, the movie I was watching froze. I called a flight attendant for help, she got to talking to the worried Dad standing nearby and, long story short, I swapped window seats with his son so he could sit closer to his sister who is terrified of flying. When I got to my new seat the movie selections were all messed up. There were lots of decent movies to choose from: Sweeney Todd, There Will Be Blood, Juno, Atonement and so on, but none would work for me. Guess what I could watch? Just guess. The only three movies working on my monitor were The Golden Compass, The Water Horse and Alvin and the Chipmunks. Dammit! I caved and tried to watch The Golden Compass. I got about 15 minutes into it and quit. You know it's a bad film when a woman trapped in a window seat for 6 hours would rather quit than sit through it. I gave that stupid Water Horse a try but sort of fell asleep and missed the first 45 minutes. I eventually regained consciousness and watched a couple of hours of Deadliest Catch.

At the end of the flight I had the window shade down and didn't know we were so close to landing. My whole row jumped when we hit the ground. I looked down and noticed that the nice woman sitting next to me had a Delta badge and a Captain's hat.

Lucy: Are you a pilot for Delta?
Pilot: Yes.
Lucy: Oh, I LOVE hearing a woman's voice over the PA as a pilot. It makes me happy.
Pilot: Yeah, we're only about 4-5% of the pilot pool right now but we're out there.
Lucy: Well, I always appreciate it when I hear that a woman is flying.
Lucy: So, do you think this guy is a Navy pilot? (sort of nodding towards the cockpit)
Pilot: (laughing) Yeah, probably.
Lucy: He sort floored it on takeoff. I thought 'Ok now, take it easy hotrod'. I guess that's what happens when you're used to landing on a postage stamp.
Lucy: Are you Navy?
Pilot: I'm Air Force. I'm still active. I'm on reserve.
Lucy: You can fly with an airline and be on active duty?
Pilot: Yeah, so many pilots come from the military that they're pretty flexible. They're great about letting me leave when I'm on active duty. Then when I get back they book me right away. It's really nice.
Lucy: I've always wanted to learn to fly.
Pilot: You should! It's SO MUCH FUN. I love it!
Lucy: So how to you choose the airline to join?
Pilot: Well, my Dad was a Delta pilot. You really look for the right culture. Delta has great hiring practices and the highest standards. (Good to know.)
Lucy: Are you going home now?
Pilot: Yeah, the whole crew is. We flew out yesterday but they didn't have a plane for us to fly home with so were dead heading together on this flight. The flight attendants are back there (pointing behind us).

I was fascinated by this woman. She was very young. She joined the Air Force about 11 years ago so she must have been around 30. She said she wished more women would become pilots because they're really good at it. Women tend to be great multitaskers and that's apparently what flying is all about. She said working in a male dominated field could occasionally get old but that it was mostly great. I told her that women like her make it easier for the up and coming women pilots and that I hoped it wold be closer to a 50/50 ratio of men:women pilots in my lifetime. She agreed that there was no reason that couldn't happen and that she was always telling women to try it because she really felt they'd love it.



shandon said...

I used to work with a guy who'd done a long stint in the army. He said women made the best helicopter pilots, too.

Norman said...