SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Praying for a Sweaty Flight



August 20, 2016
Saturday PM

Ketchikan, Alaska -
First of all, I am absolutely one hundred gazillion percent in favor of airplane security. I have no problem with TSA doing its dangedess to stop evil doers from doing evil to the plane that I am on.

jpg  Dave Kiffer

Few things are more stressful to the average human being than being locked in a flying cigar 30,000 feet above ground with 150 other stressed out folks. It's like being in a crowded elevator that does not stop. On any floors. Ever.

So anything the authorities come up with to remove even the hint of "man made" danger to the process is okay by me.

I think there was one time in my decades of flying life that I was completely relaxed on a long plane journey. I had the pleasure of flying El Al, the Israeli carrier, to Europe. Not only were there all sorts of Uzi toting guys (and gals) in the departure lounge, but I'm pretty sure the ratio of passengers to air marshals on the flight was less than 3-1.

And the cabin crew was trained in at least six different deadly martial arts. including using an espresso machine and a single day old bagel to stop a dozen different terrorist scenarios.

So, when it comes to enhanced security, I say bring it on.

Heck, on a recent trip out of Squarebanks, I even let a rookie TSA agent "practice" his pat down technique on me, because his supervisors wanted to make sure he was doing it correctly. Man, was that a looooonnnnggggg patdown. Very comprehensive. To quote Arlo Guthrie I was "injected, inspected, detected, infected, neglected and selected."

Nothing like having to stand there for fifteen minutes holding up my baggy "dad" jeans with one hand (natch, they took away my belt so I couldn't use it for evil doing).

And that was with "TSA Pre Check." I would hate to see the pat down for the "unsecure" passengers.

BTW, speaking of "securing the cabin," did you know that airlines are no longer "allowing" folks to bring their own alcohol on board? I had no idea that was even a "thing."

I must have missed the kiosks at the airports where they sold miniature Bloody Mary's and Tom Collin's. I knew that a lot of folks got tanked up in the airport lounges before flights, but I had no idea it had become common to take "booze to go" for the flight. Very Interesting.

Now, the airlines have decided it is a flight safety issue.

In reality, I'm sure they see it as an untapped profit center. No free carry-on hooch for you! Better we ply you with itsy-bitsy on board cocktails with maxi-maxi prices that jack your credit card higher than the cruising altitude.

But I "digresh."

Anyway, all this air travel cogitating comes to mind because an airline - NOT ALASKA!!! - has stepped into a big pile of public relations doo doo because one of its stewardess was "nervous" because two passengers, apparently American Muslims, were praying to God and sweating before the plane took off.

This bothered her so much that she complained to the Captain, who was clearly suffering from the same bout of "Sudden Idiot Syndrome" and agreed that the praying/sweating couple needed to be removed from the plane.


Of course, there is the obvious point. If the praying/sweating couple had been Southern Baptists, would they have been unceremoniously told to pack up their carrry-ons and get off the plane?

You bet your sweet bippy!


In fact, more than a few times, I have found myself sitting next to people on flights that were a) praying, b) sweating and c) praying and sweating. One even grabbed my arm once and asked me to pray and sweat WITH her. That was the longest 15 minute flight ever.

Clearly this stewardess who was unnerved by praying and sweating had never flown into Ketchikan in an October storm.

Or circled above Juneau in the endless clouds.

Or roller coastered the Stikine updraft between Wrangell and Petersburg.

Or flew into Sitka any time at all.

Every flight. Anywhere in Alaska. Involves praying and sweating. And copious amounts of both. In any language. Or to any God,

You care to use. Forever and Ever. Amen!

As for me, I always feel more secure when everyone around me is praying and sweating on a flight.

I figure we can always use all the help we can get.


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