Flight Funnies

All too rarely, airline attendants make an effort to make the in flight “safety lecture” and announcements a bit more entertaining. Here are some real examples that have been heard or reported:


Here is some hilarity to make your evening more enjoyable. After numerous airplane rides, I am definitely very much in favor of a little humor thrown into the routine procedures. Some of these I have heard personally and others are just ones I found. Laugh. Enjoy. 

1. “In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, masks will descend 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 more than one small child, pick your favorite.”

2. An airline pilot wrote that on this particular flight he had hammered his ship into the runway really hard. The airline had a policy which required the first officer to stand at the door while the Passengers exited, smile, and give them a “Thanks for flying our airline.” He said that, in light of his bad landing, he had a hard time looking the passengers in the eye, thinking that someone would have a smart comment. Finally everyone had gotten off except for a little old lady walking with a cane. She said, “Sir, do you mind if I ask you a question?” “Why, no, Ma’am,” said the pilot. “What is it?” The little old lady said, “Did we land, or were we shot down?”

3. On a Southwest flight (SW has no assigned seating, you just sit where you want) passengers were apparently having a hard time choosing, when a flight attendant announced, “People, people we’re not picking out furniture here, find a seat and get in it!”

4. On a Continental Flight with a very “senior” flight attendant crew, the pilot said, “Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve reached cruising altitude and will be turning down the cabin lights. This is for your comfort and to enhance the appearance of your flight attendants.”

5. On landing, the stewardess said, “Please be sure to take all of your belongings. If you’re going to leave anything, please make sure it’s something we’d like to have.

6. “There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 4 ways out of this airplane”

7. 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, you better believe that everything has shifted.”

8. From a Southwest Airlines employee: “Welcome aboard Southwest Flight 245 to Tampa.. To operate your seat belt, insert the metal tab into the buckle, and pull tight. It works just like every other seat belt; and, if you don’t know how to operate one, you probably shouldn’t be out in public unsupervised.”

9. “Your seat cushions can be used for flotation; and, in the event of an emergency water landing, please paddle to shore and take them with our compliments.”

10. “As you exit the plane, make 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.”

11. And from the pilot during his welcome message: “Delta Airlines is pleased to have some of the best flight attendants in the industry. Unfortunately, none of them are on this flight!”

12. 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.”

13. After a real crusher of a landing in Phoenix, the attendant came on with, “Ladies and Gentlemen, please remain in your seats until Capt. Crash and the Crew have brought the aircraft to a screeching halt against the gate. And, once the tire smoke has cleared and the warning bells are silenced, we’ll open the door and you can pick your way through the wreckage to the terminal.”

14. 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 Airways.”

15. Heard on a Southwest Airline flight. “Ladies and gentlemen, if you wish to smoke, the smoking section on this airplane is on the wing and if you can light ’em, you can smoke ’em.”

16. During the pre-flight safety announcements on Southwest a number of years back, we heard the flight attendant say something like, “For those of you who insist on smoking during this flight, you will be directed toward one of the exits over the wings where you will be shown the movie for today: Gone With The Wind.”

17. Heard on SWA, at the end of the flight, when they were supposed to be putting up their trays:”Ladies and Gentlemen, we hope you’ve been enjoying your drinks. However, the time has come to stop enjoying, and start drinking.”

18. “We’d like to congratulate someone on this plane who is having their 100th birthday, today, and is flying for the very first time. Ladies and Gentlemen, please be sure to wish the pilot happy birthday on your way out of the plane!”




Are you a witness?

Another thought-provoking piece written by Caleb:


Lima, Peru

Most of the rooftops in our neighborhood wear a crown of rebar spikes topped with plastic bottles. I am told that this is done so that, when funds are available, the homeowner can add another floor, and then another, and then another. The buildings are never really “finished.” This makes the distinctly modern design of Peruvian urban dwellings more organic than was ever intended by the designing architects. They are living creatures, always growing, always changing.

Sometimes, this is hopeful, as one generation makes room for the next. But on our street, something else has happened. Our neighborhood is next to the National University, and our neighbors have developed the habit of transforming their homes into (typically) rather makeshift dorms. The students who live in these rooms have become the second-class citizens of our neighborhood. They are our own immigrant community, wandering nameless and faceless among us.

One night, very late, we are awakened by the gravelly screaming of an enraged man. The screaming is so loud that in my half-awake state I confusedly wonder if it is coming from inside our home. I get out of bed, stand beneath the open sky on the tiny patio near the back of our house, and listen. I cannot exactly make out the words, only one here and there. And then suddenly and finally the splintering, chilling crash of glass. In the ensuing I realize I am holding my breath and that my wife is standing next to me. The night is quiet again, the babies still asleep. We go back to bed, but I just lie there, waiting and wondering. It is hard to ignore despair when there is no wall, no boundary, real or imagined, to lean against in safety.

The next morning, we decide it must have been a drunken student. The neighbors say nothing, our landlady cannot unearth the facts. It is eerily as if it had never happened, a nightmare we, as a neighborhood, shared together in our sleep, a nightmare so awful we’d all rather not talk about it. I am struck that morning by the fact that maybe I have just walked by that student on the way to the office. Maybe we even nodded good morning to each other. I am a witness, a silent witness, a burdened witness.

I know that it is a difficult life these students lead, a lonely existence. They come from elsewhere, from towns and villages all over. So many unimportant, little lives, so many unstoppable and eternal souls, nameless to us, to their neighbors, even (I suspect) to the people whose rooms they rent. Thankfully, I know that some of these homeowners known their tenants well, and make an attempt to be a part of their lives. “He is like a part of our family,” our neighbor Nelly says of the young man who lives on the second floor. He eats with the family, and they trust him completely.

During our first year in our home, two students, siblings, lived in the tiny apartment upstairs. We got to know them a little, in spite of their skittishness and our own awkwardness as newcomers to the neighborhood. The sister, who had light-colored hair and sad eyes, would sometimes visit with Cassie and Jane, and ogle over baby Margaret. The brother was affable, yet aloof. He liked to sing, and we could hear him from our kitchen, singing away at the top of his lungs and far beyond the top of his register. We had an opportunity with these two young people that we did not pursue as far as we might have. The pang of that sin of omission lingers. The boy failed his classes and their parents divorced and the siblings left, the sister for Lima and the brother for the jungle. I do not know what came of them.

Several nights each month a tragicomedy plays out on our street. It seems one of our neighbors’ tenants does not possess a house key. I know this because we hear him out on the street, yelling “Señor Martín! Señor Martín!” Señor Martín is either hard of hearing, lazy, or not at home most nights, because the young man keeps yelling, his voice progressively rising in a patient though persistent crescendo, until someone opens the door, or his hopes run dry and he seeks shelter elsewhere.

As I write this, I am reminded of another, darker side of this loneliness. One morning, some weeks after the screaming incident, our landlady greeted us with bad news. “Did you hear?” She asked. A student was found dead the day before, she told us in the peculiar whisper she always uses when she has some serious information to impart. Only two blocks from our house, hanging in his room.

I had seen the police, the spectators, the news teams, and had wondered what it was all about. Apparently he left a note, bequeathing the blame for his death to his ex-girlfriend (a ghoulish inheritance). Disappointment begat desperation, loneliness gave birth to despair, and all that was left were the broadsheets and the gossip and the odd air of self-importance and grief that settled like a smelly, fishing-wharf fog for a week or two on the neighborhood. The fog lifted and the whole thing was forgotten. He had arrived nameless, existed nameless, and even his fame at death lingered but a few weeks. He is nameless again. I never met him, although I am sure we crossed on the sidewalk, maybe a dozen times or more.

I cannot go up on our roof without remembering all of these students. I can hear dozens of them talking, listening to music, all around me, up and down the street. They dance and laugh and hit the books in their dimly lit concrete and corrugated plastic garrets, a world of their own. They bear on their shoulders the distilled hopes of ten generations, a fragile future balanced on a broomstick, no second pair of hands to hold it steady.

Below me, through what Peruvians call the “light swallowers”, the open places in our roof that make the distinction between indoors and outdoors a false one, I can hear my daughters’ voices, twittering, lovely, important, and busy. I am grounded in so many communities, a part of a beautiful whole. The autumn air is cooling and moist and seeps through my clothes. How cold it is to be alone. I reflect on how the saddest poets have all been city dwellers, war veterans, scholars, and as I make my way down the steps and back through my door I offer a prayer for the lonely immigrant. How calming to remember we serve a forgiving God who is no distinguisher of persons. Oh, how I long to be the same.

~Caleb Sutton


Caleb’s dad passed into glory early in the morning on April 13th. We are so sad to be starting this stage of life without him, but we rest in the hope of seeing him again one day!  

Judy Schneider Photo

Below is something that Caleb wrote while we were in the States this past month. He has an incredible gift for writing (just like his dad) and I am always so thankful when he gets the chance to write down his thoughts and share them with others. 

Thoughts on a recent visit to Callaway, a Georgia Plantation

Shauna leads us through the back door (“Can’t let y’all go up the steps”), through the ground floor, and out onto the porch. Her first task as our tour guide is to educate us on the special events at the plantation. The fires are lit at Christmas (and only then, to prevent the place burning down), and they bring a mule in to turn a cane mill in October, cost of admission $7 (“unless the prices go up this year, which they may do”). As we out-of-towners oblige with nods, Shauna directs our attention to the view.

Across the highway, beyond a tiny municipal airport, stretch the hills and fields that once belonged to the Callaway family. They were granted the land following the revolution as a reward for their service to the infant country. They proved industrious stewards: from the late 1700’s onward, they (and, at one point, around 100 slaves) sawed and plowed their way to prominence.

The house is an appealing red-brick structure with that cool equilibrium of austerity and regalness that defines the early antebellum plantation home. Six immense white columns support the porch ceiling (the sixth replaced by the City of Washington following a bad storm). The dining room boasts three closets, an unusual display of wealth in a period when closets were taxed as rooms when enclosed with doors. Other than that, there is little else to say that cannot be said of any other home of the period.

This is not my first visit, though losing my father a few days earlier has caused everything to seem new (brushing my teeth, petting the dog), and I find I experience everything through a lens of numb intensity. I came on this field trip with a few family members, including my two-year-old daughter, Jane, in order to take a break from funeral arrangements, to escape for an hour, though from what I am hardly aware.

Our little group wanders from room to room and admires the furniture we are encouraged to admire, each seeking that balance every tourist must while on a guided tour: neither bored nor so inquisitive as to make the tour uncomfortably long for our co-tourists. We learn that the Callaways who built this particular residence (there are three or four other houses on the property) were Aristides and Martha. Their portraits show a bearded, solid looking man who, despite his name, looks largely unimaginative, alongside a much younger woman with puffy, receding Mediterranean eyes. My sister-in-law says that Martha is prettier than other women from the 1800’s whose portraits she has seen. Perhaps she is right, though Martha’s eyes look tired to me. Shauna tells us the Callaways had more than a dozen children together before Martha died at 48. She points out a black leather physician’s bag in their bedroom. “The doctor would stay here when Martha was going to have her baby,” she says decorously, before intimating with both kindness and humor, “So, that would be about every nine months.”

On our way up the stairs, Shauna points out one of the more remarkable items in the house: an enormous mirror that hangs on the halfway landing. Shauna explains to us that the mirror has a highly practical purpose. It reflects the front door and hall, so that whole area can be seen from the second-floor landing. Through this arrangement, whoever was on that landing could see who was at the front door before committing to receiving the visitor, a sort of 19th century closed-circuit video surveillance system.

I pause before the mirror as the others go ahead up the stairs. “Look, Jane, it’s us!” I say to my daughter, who is strapped to my back so as to keep her from toppling vases off of spindly-legged hall tables. She sighs and kicks at my side, unimpressed. I think of the tremendous crash the mirror would make if it were to fall, the glass breaking into a billion fragments all down the steps, from unity to disunity in one of those shockingly irreversible instants that alter the trajectories of our lives. Then, in an inexplicable leap of the imagination, I remember the scene from Gone With the Wind where Scarlett O’Hara shoots the Yankee intruder. Startled by these combined impressions, I rejoin our party on the floor above and we all admire the nursery.

But I cannot shake the image of the mirror; instead, it shakes me. The mirror is wavy with age, and looks as if it were raining heavily on the other side of the glass. When I look into it, I am looking into the same mirror Aristides looked at as he ascended the steps, perhaps on his way to kiss Martha one last time as she lay on the grand bed, her life an early mist rising through the gauzy curtains and seeping through plaster and red brick out into the wet Georgia morning to be burned by the sun. We are two men, alien to each other, looking into the same mirror. And yet what we read there, the signature of loss signed across our own faces, is the same. The pop music writers are wrong, I think. The grief that springs from love is perhaps more powerful than love itself to connect people across not only the invisible boundaries of current society, but also the unspannable chasms of time.

Wandering through these rooms, it is easy to forget that the Callaways are absent from them. For all I know, they could be moving from one room to the next, one step ahead of us, in a sort of children’s game. I imagine them leaning against doors, Aristides careful of Martha’s hair, listening to our conversation. Was that a blue satin slipper disappearing around that corner?

The detritus of their lives is everywhere, in every corner and shelf and wall. But biblical orthodoxy is unequivocal on this point. The soul enters into heaven, and the body awaits resurrection. I do not believe in ghosts, but I do believe in something that lingers, though I hardly know what to call it. In the absence of body and soul, however, a space remains, and this empty space is as real as the former presence, and for a short time at least it feels almost more real. I’ll call it the nimbus, the force of personality which, once imprinted indelibly on our own consciousnesses, will never dissipate entirely, no matter the time that elapses. It lingers on in the rooms the departed once inhabited, on their belongings, in their closets. We cannot ever have our loved ones with us again in this life, but we can have their pen, their book, their walking stick.

But the nimbus is as weak as it is strong. We can only do so much with it, and I fear we try to do too much, as if we could bring them back. I wonder what Aristides and Martha would say if they could see us now, peering into their rooms, gawking at this or that piece of furniture, assembling anecdotes as if they were ligaments and bones while we try like Frankenstein to bring life to the silhouettes in our minds. I am convinced that the fragments that remain are not enough to reconstruct an Aristides or a Martha or anyone else. We may touch the items tenderly, hoping for some warmth to emanate, some tone or timbre that recalls a voice. But they are only artifacts, the physical emblems of a person, and though something precious may hover over and around them, they are never really more than artifacts. They disappoint. Perhaps this is what makes archaeology so futile a pursuit. The best we can get is only a fragrance, a murmur, a shadow which, upon investigation, dissipates into the night.

When the nimbus belongs to a stranger, it evokes discomfort (ever spend the night in an unfamiliar, old house?), but when it belongs to a loved one, it evokes a far wider range of emotions, among them grief and warmth. As my aunt said as we visited in my cousins’ 18th century farmhouse, “If there are ghosts in this house, they are family members, which is fine, right?” And the nimbus is a comfort, a gift, of sorts. It is an aid to grief, to reflection on life in all its complexity and beauty, and the overwhelming power of Providence. And this gives hope not only for the life to come, but for this life, the hope that something in the one we loved stays with us as we continue our own race.

The telephone rings as we make our way down the stairs. “Most times I’m the only one here,” says Shauna, “so I just got to let it ring. There is only one of me. And I sure am glad there ain’t two of me!” We laugh at the joke, identifying with the sentiment as our minds turn to our harried lives. But as I reflect on the Callaways and on my father, I realize that at our deaths there is a sense in which there are two of us. There is the self that is united in heaven with the Father, and there is the “self” we leave behind, our legacy, a combination of artifacts and memories, words and wishes. The amazing thing is that we each of us is actively creating that legacy now, and it is both frightening and beautiful that one day that legacy will remain in our stead. And while I doubt my home will be open to tours long after I am gone, I do wonder what impression will be left, what people will say as they wander the rooms of my life and sort through my things. This, I believe, is an insatiable curiosity.

~ Caleb Sutton