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Home --> Travel --> Air Apparent --> Pilot Light

Pilot Light

Legend:   Flight crew makes humorous in-flight announcements to airline passengers.

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, 2003]

I was flying to San Francisco from Seattle this weekend, and the flight attendant reading the flight safety information had the whole plane looking at each other like "what the heck?" (Getting Seattle people to look at each other is an accomplishment.) So, once we got airborne, I took out my laptop and typed up what she said so I wouldn't forget. I've left out a few parts I'm sure, but this is most of it.

(Before Takeoff....)

Hello and welcome to Alaska flight 438 to San Francisco. If you're going to San Francisco, you're in the right place. If you're not going to San Francisco, you're about to have a really long evening.

We'd like to tell you now about some important safety features of this aircraft. The most important safety feature we have aboard this plane is . . . The Flight Attendants. Please look at one now.

There are 5 exits aboard this plane, 2 at the front, 2 over the wings, and one out the plane's rear end. If you're seated in one of the exit rows, please do not store your bags by your feet. That would be a really bad idea.

Please take a moment and look around and find the nearest exit. Count the rows of seats between you and the exit. In the event that the need arises to find one, trust me, you'll be glad you did. We have pretty blinking lights on the floor that will blink in the direction of the exits. White ones along the normal rows, and pretty red ones at the exit rows.

In the event of a loss of cabin pressure these baggy things will drop down over your head. You stick it over your nose and mouth like the flight attendant is doing now. The bag won't inflate, but there's oxygen there, I promise.

If you are sitting next to a small child, or someone who is acting like a small child, please do us all a favor and put on your mask first.

If you are traveling with two or more children, please take a moment now to decide which one is your favorite. Help that one first, and then work your way down.

In the seat pocket in front of you is a pamphlet about the safety features of this plane. I usually use it as a fan when I'm having my own personal summer. It makes a very good fan. It also has pretty pictures. Please take it out and play with it now.

Please take a moment now to make sure your seat belts are fastened low and tight about your waist. To fasten the belt, insert the metal tab into the buckle. To release, it's a pulley thing — not a pushy thing like you're car cuz you're in an airplane, hello!

There is no smoking in the cabin on this flight. There is also no smoking in the lavatories. If we see smoke coming from the lavatories, we will assume you are on fire and put you out. This is a free service we provide.

There are two smoking sections on this flight, one outside each wing exit. We do have a movie in the smoking sections tonight, hold on, let me check what it is . . . Oh here it is, the movie tonight is 'Gone with the Wind'.

In a moment we will be turning off the cabin lights, and it's going to get really dark, really fast. If you're afraid of the dark, now would be a good time to reach up and press the yellow button. The yellow button turns on your reading light. Please don't press the orange button unless you absolutely have to. The orange button is your seat ejection button.

We're glad to have you with us on board this flight. Thank you for choosing Alaska Air, and giving us your business and your money. If there's anything we can do to make you more comfortable, please don't hesitate to ask.

If you all weren't strapped down you would have given me a standing ovation wouldn't you?

(After landing...)

Welcome to the San Francisco International Airport. Sorry about the bumpy landing. It's not the captain's fault. It's not the co-pilot's fault. It's the Asphalt.

Please remain seated until the plane is parked at the gate. At no time in history has a passenger beaten a plane to the gate. So please don't even try.

Please be careful opening the overhead bins because shift happens.

Origins:   Some
of us older folks can remember when everything about airline travel (except the stewardesses, perhaps) was staid and proper: pilots were respected authority figures, passengers listened to safety instructions quietly and attentively, and the most frivolity one heard from the flight crew was a co-pilot's announcement about some interesting geographical feature viewable from the left-hand side of the cabin. Most commercial carriers have since long since recognized, however, that injecting some humor into the flight routine not only helps to smooth things over for restive passengers (and the flight attendants who have to deal with them), but also provides a gentle means of getting people to listen to the boring and repetitive safety instructions they too often tune out otherwise.

Several of the passages in the above-quoted message are items that have been circulating on the Internet for several years in collections of humorous in-flight announcements:
Pilot - "Folks, we have reached our cruising altitude now, so I am going to switch the seat belt sign off. Feel free to move about as you wish, but please stay inside the plane till we land... it's a bit cold outside, and if you walk on the wings it affects the flight pattern."

And, after landing: "Thank you for flying Delta Business Express. We hope you enjoyed giving us the business as much as we enjoyed taking you for a ride."

As we waited just off the runway for another airliner to cross in front of us, some of the passengers were beginning to retrieve luggage from the overhead bins. The head attendant announced on the intercom, "This aircraft is equipped with a video surveillance system that monitors the cabin during taxiing. Any passengers not remaining in their seats until the aircraft comes to a full and complete stop at the gate will be strip-searched as they leave the aircraft."

Once on a Southwest flight, the pilot said, "We've reached our cruising altitude now, and I'm turning off the seat belt sign. I'm switching to autopilot, too, so I can come back there and visit with all of you for the rest of the flight."

As the plane landed and was coming to a stop at Washington National, a lone voice comes over the loudspeaker: "Whoa, big fella...WHOA..!"

"Should the cabin lose pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead area. Please place the bag over your own mouth and nose before assisting children or adults acting like children."

"As you exit the plane, please make sure to sure to gather all of your belongings. Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight attendants. Please do not leave children or spouses."

"Last one off the plane must clean it."

And from the pilot during his welcome message: "We are pleased to have some of the best flight attendants in the industry.... Unfortunately none of them are on this flight...!

Heard on Southwest Airlines just after a very hard landing in Salt Lake City: The flight attendant came on the intercom and said, "That was quite a bump and I know what ya'll are thinking, and I'm here to tell you it wasn't the airline's fault, it wasn't the pilot's fault, it wasn't the flight attendants' fault.....it was the asphalt!"

Overheard on an American Airlines flight into Amarillo, Texas, on a particularly windy and bumpy day. During the final approach the Captain was really having to fight it. After an extremely hard landing, the Flight Attendant came on the PA and announced, "Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Amarillo. Please remain in your seats with your seatbelts fastened while the Captain taxis what's left of our airplane to the gate!"

Another flight Attendant's comment on a less than perfect landing: "We ask you to please remain seated as Captain Kangaroo bounces us to the terminal."

After a particularly rough landing during thunderstorms in Memphis, a flight attendant on a Northwest flight announced: "Please take care when opening the overhead compartments because, after a landing like that, sure as heck, everything has shifted."

From a Southwest Airlines employee.... "Welcome aboard Southwest. To operate your seatbelt, insert the metal tab into the buckle, and pull tight. It works just like every other seatbelt, and if you don't know how to operate one, you probably shouldn't be out in public unsupervised. In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a small child traveling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are traveling with two small children, decide now which one you love more.

Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with some broken clouds, but they'll try to have them fixed before we arrive. Thank you, and remember, nobody loves you, or your money, more than Southwest Airlines."

After a real crusher of a landing in Phoenix, the Flight Attendant came on with, "Ladies and Gentlemen, please remain in your seats until Captain Crash and the Crew have brought the aircraft to a screeching halt up against the gate. And, once the tire smoke has cleared and the warning bells are silence, we'll open the door and you can pick your way through the wreckage to the terminal.

Part of a Flight Attendant's arrival announcement: "We'd like to thank you folks for flying with us today. And, the next time you get the insane urge to go blasting through the skies in a pressurized metal tube, we hope you'll think of us here at USAirways."
We can't say definitively that the item quoted at the head of this article is an accurate transcription of an Alaska Air attendant's pre-flight routine (it might be a compendium of quotes assembled from a variety of airlines, for example), but it's fairly representative of the lighthearted patter a passenger might hear on some airlines these days.

Last updated:   17 December 2005

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