Q: What happens when the computers stop doing their job and a worker has to do something manually that is usually done by the computer?
A: The scratching of heads begins
So I got on the plane for my flight home yesterday afternoon. It was packed with no open seats. A bunch of people had to have their roller-board carry ons checked through to their final destination. The announcement to turn off all electronic devices indicating the closing of the doors. And then the captain speaks.... I'll drop most of the apologies but lets see how well I remember some of the more humorous phrases:
Captain: Sorry folk but there will be a slight delay before we leave, they are not yet done fuelling the plane.
[A minute later]
Captain: To update you on our situation, there is some head scratching happening at the moment by the fuel crew. Normally they deliver the fuel to the central tank and the computers move it out to the other locations. That is not working. Not a problem, they can add fuel to each side by hand but the fuel crew appears to be having some trouble finding the gas cap.
[a few minutes later]
Captain: To update you on our situation, the fuel crew seems to be done scratching their heads and should have us taken care of in just a few minutes.
[about 20 seconds later]
Captain: To update you on our situation.... um... let me preface this with - the fuel crew does not work for [our] airline and is in no way associated with [our] airline. They are a contractor for the airport. It seems the fuel truck they brought over is out of gas and they need to go get a different truck. They should be back soon.
[a couple of minutes later]
Captain: OK folks, the are now loading fuel to the right wing, then assuming they can find the left wing, will get the fuel added to the left side and we will be on our way.
Well, they did get the fuel in the wings, and we did leave, and the airport was nice enough to send us to the front of the takeoff line.
but wait - there is more...
Just after the flight crew brought out the drink cart...
Captain: We have reached our cruising altitude of [whatever] but it will remain bummpy for a while. I am told that is it not any better at any other altitude so we will just have to ride it out. Please stay in your seats, seatbelts fastened [blah, blah, blah]
[about 10 seconds later]
Captain: I am also going to ask the flight attendants to please be seated.
For those that fly regularly (or used to fly regularly) you probably already know the outcome of my flight - very bumpy most of the way with no "beer or wine for $7 or $8, snacks including ... starting at $4, or a sleep convenience kit including a blanket and ... for $7" Gosh darn it and I really wanted to spend $7 on a blanket for a 40 minute flight.