Amazon Boarding Follies
I'm intrigued by the evolution of pre-flight boarding processes at different airports in different countries over the past few year. I have long ago set aside my predispositions for a fast efficient procedure and acquiesced to local customs, traditions and bureaucracies.
I no longer stress over the follies involved in boarding a domestic flight within the U.S. I don't always avail myself of the priorities associated with upgraded class of service, frequent flier standing or credit card perks (well, that's not totally accurate....if I'm flying BIZ or FIRST on a quality carrier, I may jump in the tussle and hope for a sip of quality champagne before or shortly after departure).
I now carry on only a single item which will fit safely in the limited foot space provided and avoid the overhead bin space disputes, which seem to erupt among passengers regularly and require the flight attendants to referee (maybe black & while stripe are needed for these employees).
I still think about the pre-flight boarding process when we flew out of the Amazon in Ecuador. It had rained hard the evening before our scheduled departure and there was a question as to whether the scheduled flight would even attempt a landing.
The morning did bring a break in the rains (hey, we were in rain forest and it did live up to the title).....we had a light mist falling but nothing too serious. We loaded our limited gear into the dug out canoe and headed up river from the village. The pilot had radioed he would be arriving at the airfield (make that dirt/mud strip hacked out of heavy tropical foliage), do a fly-by and decide if he would attempt to land.
We proceeded to a four posted thatched roof structure along side the airfield for 'weigh-in' (Yep, bathroom scales wrapped in a huge plastic bag to minimize moisture infiltration). The was a mild protestation from one of the ladies regarding her willingness to be weighed, but our guide summed up the situation simply: If you don't stand on these scales, then you will not be flying out today.
The pilot wasted no time discussing weight and balance limits for the airplane nor did he feel the need to share his evaluation for the proper ratio of fuel, oil and total payload for our flight. He instead told each of the passengers where to sit and instructed the guide and assistance which pieces of luggage were to be loaded in the exact position in the baggage compartment.
The pilot said "put on your (David Clark) headsets, fasten your seats belts, pull them tight and don't remove them until I tell you otherwise. We're going to attempt and get airborne before the next wave of showers blow through and muddy up the place."
High pucker factor as the plane roared down the field and finally sucked those tires out of the mud!