Kidnapping Pilots

andyallen —  March 7, 2011 — Leave a comment

[2 of 4] I wrote a few posts several years ago before I started my blog…remember MySpace?  There are a few I felt were worth bringing over to the blog, so here you go.

[Originally posted January 7, 2008]
I took my sister to our little airport in Chico, CA the other day.  There is a check-in counter, a TSA bag inspection table and Hertz Rental Car stand in a room with maybe 30 airport lobby chairs in this small “terminal.”

Chico Airport

United Airlines basically fly’s a shuttle (30 seater) between Chico and San Francisco several times each day and then you can get to wherever you’re going from there.  The weather was pretty bad here and in San Francisco that day, so the flight was delayed.

We arrived at the airport, checked her bags and were told the flight was scheduled to leave around 7 PM.  I decided to hang out and keep her company.  Her plane arrived from SFO about 7:20.  The guy at the check-in counter basically yelled an update to the small waiting crowd of about 10 people, “I just went out to the car….uh, I mean plane, and talked with the pilot.  He said that the tower in San Francisco won’t release our flight until 9 PM, but they will try and get the flight out sooner.”

My sister said she was hungry but was afraid to leave because she didn’t want to miss her flight.  While we were talking about how to figure out dinner, the pilots came wandering through the waiting area, looking bored.  I asked them what they knew and they confirmed that we were stuck here at the mercy of air traffic control in SFO.  Then they walked behind the counter into a back room.

I like to fancy myself a problem solver.  It’s one of what I’m sure are many flaws that I possess.  So I walked up to the counter and asked if the pilots were hungry and if they would like a lift to our local Quizno’s?  The counter agent looked worried but promised to make the flight crew aware of my offer.

A minute later, the Captain and First Officer came bounding out of the back room, ready to go.  I looked at my sister, who was quickly approaching a state of shock, and said “Let’s go!”  We quickly jumped into my car which was parked at the curb…highly illegal at any other airport in America, but casually ignored in Chico, CA.

Once we were in the car I told the pilots that I actually had an ulterior motive…that I wasn’t just being a nice guy.  They exchanged a few nervous looks with each other.  I explained that I wanted to make sure my sister got some dinner and the only way to do that and guarantee she still made it on the flight would be to take the pilots with us.  Seemed perfectly rational to me.  This appeared to put them at ease and we enjoyed some conversation about the weather and our little community to and from the sandwich shop.

My plan worked.

My sister got her dinner without missing her flight.  The pilots got some dinner too.  Mysteriously, my sister’s seat assignments were upgraded for all of her connecting flights.  I came away with a fun little story…thankfully with no pending charges of false imprisonment or unlawfully detaining airline personnel.

What makes the better story…do that!

Once again, one of my little “life mantra’s” made for a fun time.

Have you ever kidnapped a pilot?

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