SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


What Happens in Coach


March 09, 2009

Ketchikan, Alaska - It all started with a Digeplayer.

jpg What Happens in Coach By DAVE KIFFER

Dave Kiffer

No, that's not quite true.

It all started with a 737 leaking oil on the tarmac.

They made us switch planes and our cross-country flight left an hour later than scheduled.

Then it all started with the Digeplayer.

I had followed the web site advice and reserved my copy early and paid my $10. It was supposed to be delivered to my seat after we attained cruising altitude.

I probably shouldn't have bothered.

The top tier of movies on the Digeplayer that month were "Babylon AD," "The Rocker" and "What Happens in Vegas." It was going to be a really long five-hour flight, even with the Digeplayer.

Anyway, the Digeplayer didn't arrive at my seat so I alerted the flight attendant.

"We're out," she said cheerfully. "We only had seven for this flight."

"But I reserved one," I continued.

"We're out," she repeated. "Please return to your seat."

"How do I get a refund?" I pressed on, after all $10 is $10!

"I'm sorry," she said. "No refunds, Please return to your seat."

I did.

Then a man across the aisle helped out.

"Take mine," he said. "There's nothing worth watching anyway."

I settled into my uber comfy window seat (the guy next to me had really wide shoulders so I had a wee bit less than my allotted seat width!).

I started watching "What Happens in Vegas."

At one point, I asked to purchase an in flight "meal" and the flight attendant said it would be a "few minutes." It never came.

So I ordered a cola and they brought me a diet one. Just another day in "coach.".

With about fifteen minutes to go in the movie (would Cameron and Ashton resolve their "differences" and live happily ever after????) the flight attendant broke my reverie.

"You have to turn in your Digeplayer now," she said. "We're getting ready to land."

Wow, the trip had gone faster than I expected.

I looked out the window.

You could see the lights of a very, very, very large crescent shaped city and the corner of a large body of water stretching off into the distance.

Granted, I learned all my geography in the Ketchikan school system but I've always been pretty good with maps. It sure looked like Chicago and Lake Michigan to me.

Our flight was supposed to be going to Washington D.C.

I consulted my watch and we were more than 90 minutes from Washington DC, according to the new ETA.

I got up to use the bathroom, As luck would have it, I found myself standing next to the flight attendant as I waited for an open bathroom.

"We're just flying over Chicago," I said helpfully. "We're nowhere near landing in D.C."

She was not amused.

"We're scheduled to land in DC in less than half an hour," she said, a tad crossly.

"We just passed over Chicago," I repeated.

She glared at me.

"Please return to your seat," she said, a tad more crossly.

Just then a largish man stood up a couple of aisles away and turned toward us.

He had that look of a federal air marshal trying - and failing - to look incognito.

"Is there a problem?" he asked.

"No sir," I said and quickly returned to my seat.

I had just dozed off, when I felt something shoving my shoulder.

It was the flight attendant poking me in the arm with a Digeplayer.

"Here you are, sir," she said without a smile. "There was some crew confusion about the landing time in D.C."

I settled back into my seat, hoping that it was the cabin crew and not the flight crew that was "confused."

A few minutes later, there was a message from the flight deck.

"We're just passing over Detroit on the left side of the plane."

Thank goodness someone knew where we were.



Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
Contact Dave at

Dave Kiffer ©2009

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