This Is Your Captain Speaking

I’m finally back home from Houston, which means I need to write at least one more post about the experience, namely my trust issues as they relate to flying. 


Here’s the thing about flying.

It’s the ultimate loss of control. Whereas someone driving you around in a car is theoretically more dangerous than someone flying you around in a plane — especially if it’s a cab driver, as good lord they’re freakishly fearless — at least I can bail out of the car or choose the radio station.

This is not an option in an airplane.

So you basically board the big metal bird and trust that the dude in the captain’s hat had his Starbucks and not a fight with his wife and/or girlfriend before coming to work and navigating a gazillion ton airplane 30,000 feet into the sky.

The captain does often try to connect with you on some level, although I think they overdo it a bit and supply the passengers with completely unnecessary information. The general overview of the flight, weather conditions, etc. are all great facts to have, but they were probably already mentioned by the flight attendants before they plowed through the aisles with their metal carts full of juice and water.

But why do we always need to know exactly how high we’re flying multiple times throughout the flight?

“Ladies and gentleman, this is your captain speaking. We’re currently at an altitude of 17,000 feet and should reach our cruising altitude in about 14 minutes and 33 seconds.”

I’m not sure what to do with this information, and let’s be honest. No one is sitting in their tiny little seat with their tray tables in the upright position logging the altitude of the flight like a fan keeps the box score at a ballgame. All most people care about it making sure the plane is flying high enough not to hit the trees and buildings below.

If they’re going to interrupt my attempt at a nap or try and distract me from the fact that three birds just flew through the engine, they should present passengers with more interesting facts about the person who could potentially turn the plane into a flaming inferno of death.

“Ladies and gentleman, this is your captain speaking. Did you know that after graduating from flight school, I celebrated by streaking through the streets of Barcelona in nothing but a red banana hammock?”

“I don’t mean to brag, but I’ve gone 465 days on the job without an accident or ‘incident.’”

“If I had to choose my favorite meal, it would be lasagna with homemade garlic bread. I eat it before every flight, you know, just in case.”

I would even settle for interesting random facts, kind of a “tweet-like” account of what’s really going on up in the air.

“If you choose to use the lavatory in the next 15 minutes, you will be emptying your bladder at exactly the same altitude as Mauna Kea, the world’s tallest mountain.”

“My co-pilot wants me to tell you that he just finished a crossword puzzle in ink, if anyone’s looking for a hero.”

“Woo-hoo! Conditions are great and this kick-ass tail wind means we’re going to arrive early. This thing is like a manic hummingbird on speed today!”

I’m still not sure what I do would do with that information either, but I can guarantee I could have written a much more entertaining blog post than this.

At any rate, it is nice that they thank us for choosing their airline and acknowledge the fact that we had other options, even if we really didn’t seeing as there was probably only one flight in and out of our destination for the next month.

Still, I suppose they try, and with that I will say:

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is your blogger speaking. I would like to thank you for choosing ‘Abby Has Issues’ today, as I know you had other options. Please be sure to check back again for all your future neurotic needs.”

Like the blog? Buy the book.

47 responses to “This Is Your Captain Speaking

  1. Have you seen the movie “airplane”? Thats a flight you should’ve been on.

    as far as blog reading, I had limited options as most blogs are the same recycled posts. So feel special that I chose you but not too special because I don’t want you to be cocky. Thats reserved for me.

  2. StoriesAndSweetPotatoes

    Glad you are home safely. Airline pilots and flight attendants do say weird and unnecessary things. Last time I flew Southwest right as we took off the flight attendant threw bags of peanuts down the aisle as a joke. Not only is that not funny but the wheels JUST left the ground…peanut jokes should not be a priority. Then they sang a stupid song during landing. This is why Southwest lets you check bags for free because otherwise they would be avoided.

    • If I had to pay for bag check myself and not expense it, I think I would endure a full Broadway reinactment with a pretzel toss at the end to get out of paying that fee.

  3. Melanie The Spork Lover

    Glad you are back home in your happy place. I always like flying Southwest, ’cause they always say silly stuff. This website has a few examples. All flights should be like this:

  4. Glad you made it home safe. I hate flying because of all the extra stuff you have to put up with. Arriving two hours early. The crazy searches. Sitting on the tarmac (I once sat on a plane for 5 hours before it took off.) By the time I got there, I almost could have driven the distance.

    • If I was stuck on a plane for five hours on the tarmac, the emergency exit would have been opened and I would have jumped ship…or more likely, the other passengers would have busted out in an attempt to get away from me.

  5. Hahahhah if you do a crossword in pen you ARE a hero in my book. I hate flying too…the lack of control thing. Bleh.

    • I don’t mind flying that much, although I liked it a lot more when I was little and didn’t know about crashing, the germiness and that at 5’8″ my legs will never be comfortable on a flight.

  6. My #1 biggest fear, ever, is that a plane is going to crash into my house. Which, you know, makes living right next door to an airport really awesome. I get super nervous on planes, too, probably because on a flight back from Poland one time, the entire top part of the “roof” above the passenger in front of me came off, and hung above his head by a bunch of loose wires. It. was. a. fun. flight. Welcome home!

    • There’s a very obvious opportunity for a “Polish plane” joke in this comment, but being Polish, I’ll let it go and recommend you a) stick to ground transporation and b) move.

  7. You should be an instructor in aviation school because your comments are hilarious. So glad you’re back!

  8. I love flying. the smaller the plane the better. I always marvel though, that we take our lives and hand them to a complete stranger so he can move me, and many other strangers, long distances, at high speed and even higher altitudes. Talk about trust. I hold on to my heart like it’s the piece of dark chocolate in the world. And I rarely trust anyone else’s driving!

    You must be exhausted!

  9. Airplanes terrify me. I get freaked out thinking about how the hell that thing can stay in the air. If the captain were to come on and give out random facts that might distract me from my terror. You could really be onto something.

  10. I wish the flight crew would occasionally re-enact scenes from the movie Airplane. I would totally forgive their waking me from a nap to hear the captain say, “So Timmy, do you like movies about gladiators? Have you ever been inside a Turkish prison? Ever seen a grown man naked? Do ya ever hang around a gymnasium?” I would definitely book a flight with that airline again. “Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue”

  11. I think the Captain speaks on the intercom because someone hasn’t played their turn in Words with Friends up in the cockpit and they are bored out of their minds waiting. Planes fly themselves almost nowadays. Its just the landing and taking off that’s difficult.

    My other theory is that they tell you how high you are flying because they know some people like me are thinking “oh my god I can’t get off the plane! so many stinky people! I’m breathing their air! I’m breathing their skin cells and flatulence” 😉

    Final theory is that it’s for the Golden Girls on board. You just know if they didn’t announce wind pressure and temperature and altitude, some Betty White character in row 26C would complain to the stewardess. “What’s the weather going to be? How high are we flying!!!!”

  12. “Strap yourselves in folks, Abby’s issues will send your spirits soaring! If the uncontrollable laughter is causing convulsions, please ask your attendant for a sedative.”

  13. Boy do I relate to this. I HATE the loss of control involved in flying. I fly a ton, and this part never gets much easier for me. On one trip last year, my first flight was on time, but I missed my connection to the second flight because the jet bridge to the plane wouldn’t extend, so we were stuck on the plane for an hour. I was just about crawling out of my skin.

    Really glad that you got home safely!

  14. Do you “offer” a credit card, Abby Has Issues? Do you?

  15. If you are not used to flying, it can be a daunting experience. When you fly often, you come to the realization that you have give up ALL control, to that faceless voice coming over the PA. I’ve come to terms with that and figure that they don’t want to die anymore than I do. Which is not at all…
    For some reason though, I LOVE airports. At least I did when you didn’t need a ticket to go to the terminals.

  16. I hate flying and have to do it this morning! I’m going to ask the pilot what his opinion is on crosswords.

  17. I’m not the best flyer. I get incredibly nervous, due to my control freak nature. To combat my nerves, I generally blabber on to the person next to me for the entire flight. Or, I get horrendously drunk.

    Both methods have varying results, especially when applied concurrently.

  18. My husband is not a good flyer. He IS a fantastic drinker though, so talent #2 negates problem #1. I come along for the ride for both.

  19. Just once I want the Captain to come on and say

    “Hi, I’m Craig, your Captain. I really like my job. This plane flys itself, for the most part. I can hide my alcoholism. And I’ve slept with every flight attendant over 3 airlines. So, don’t worry. No way I’m going to screw this up. You’re safe as new born kitten with me. By the way, the vodka on this flight is sub par. I just switched to whiskey. Get that.”

    hilarious Abby

  20. Favorite captain VoiceOver line ever… “If everyone looks to the left,… We’ll tip over.” ha! Okay it’s from an episode of The Golden Girls, but still funny.

    You’re a better sport than me, I do not like flying….

  21. I too, thought of the movie Airplane! Hilarious.

  22. You are hilarious. Have you ever flown on Jet Blue? I’ve heard those pilots are hilarious and actually do make jokes and say things other than “did you know we are blahbity blah blah blah altitute blah crusing blah”.
    Glad you’re home safe & sound ❤

  23. I would love to hear the intercom come on, and:

    *kkxxxt* This is your captain speaking, and I’m not wearing any pants.

    Instant ice-breaker. Bonus points if he says good-bye to all the passengers in his blazer and boxer shorts. Buh bye now!

  24. We are going to put you in charge of “small talk” training for the pilot and crew.

  25. I refuse to fly anymore. If I can’t drive there, I’m not going!

  26. Flying isn’t one of my “issues.” A tarot card reader / psyhic once tole me he didn’t see any plane crashes in my future, so I believe him. My that’s my issue, Believing a tarot card reader would actually know.

    • My issue would be that I’m too cheap to go to a tarot card reader, but if it was on the house, I would have no problem. Well, unless I got the doom card, of course.

  27. You’re welcome 🙂

    I’m glad you made it home safely

  28. I LOVE flying! LOVE it!

    We can still be friends though.

  29. I have never understood the whole vanity mirror with hospital light thing. Why? Is it to drive us out of the hotel and make rooms available?

  30. Yeah, I don’t need the details, either. Just an occasional, “there’s nothing going wrong, keep enjoying your flight,” or “only about 20 minutes until we all land safely and alive,” and I’m good.

  31. Dude, it’s not fair that you can write witty Tweets in another character. I can hardly ever think of anything to say on Twitter as myself. This post amused the crap out of me (in a good way). Glad you are safely back home. I just learned I have to go to New Jersey for work next week. For the whole week. Ugh.

  32. i would so co-pilot w: you.

  33. The lasagna line kills. My fave, fo sho. A close second is the crossword hero. I’ll be borrowing that, thankyouverymuch.

    Over here from the Finding the Funny link-up.


    Ninja Mom

  34. lol…would love to hear that kind of info from the pilots!

  35. My hubby is an airline pilot- albeit for Fed EX- did you know that Fed Ex actually transports race horses, zoo animals and errant chickens- I have a pic with one on top of a huge MD11 taken by hubby as the ground crew scrambled to coral the crazy bird. The reason that pilots share information that you consider minutia? Cause they care about stuff like that. I’ve been married for 17 years and it just dawned on me recently that the reason hubby is always testing the car (takes hands off steering wheel to check for pulling to one side), checking controls, asking me if it is time for service a yet (I HEAR that the service light comes one when I start my BMW but I’ve never paid enough attention to actually confirm this), and listening for sounds NOBODY else can hear is because it is a much bigger deal in an airplane if something is wrong…. can’t just pull over when the pesky “check engine light” comes on. So, next time forgive the pilot for boring you…he spends a lot of his life boring those around him…at least you only have to listen to him for 2 hours.

  36. You need to start flight school, just so I can be on one of your planes to break up the monotony of traveling by air. Please.

  37. I’m here from the Finding the Funny link up – love the crosswords line! People do get so impressed by that; I’m starting to think it might be worth it to trace over a few of my pencil ones in ink, in case I need to casually spread them on my coffee table before a visit from the in-laws or have a few “accidentally” slip out of my husband’s briefcase at a job interview…

    I’m your newest follower – I’d love it if you had a chance to check out my blog! I’m looking forward to reading more…

  38. Haha!! This was hilarious! I REALLY love the part about peeing at the same height as Mauna Kea. Ha! You are awesome, Abby. So glad you keep submitting your stuff to #findingthefunny.

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