Day 12 of 20: Air Safely

25 Feb

When I travel by air I like to document the entire experience – the physical condition of the plane, the comportment of the passengers, any strange smells in the cabin (that are not mine) – all the stuff that does not make it into the blackbox recordings. In the past, I found the collection of this information to be a rather labour intensive endeavour, but the recent proliferation of digital cameras and portable computers it has turned it into a most pleasant experience.

I do this to make the recovery of my personal effects a priority in the unlikely event of a crash. If there’s a chance my possessions (computer, notebook, camera, mobile phone) could in someway contribute to solving The Mystery of the Missing Passenger Jet (A Hardly Boys Mystery) then the investigators combing through the wreckage looking for clues will do so starting with seat 1B.

This flight to Berlin has been especially productive. I managed to somehow get assigned a seat in the first row – unlimited leg room!


And the crew has been especially good. We departed right on time and their execution of the safety demonstration was amongst the best I’ve ever seen.


So, why is it so important for my suff to be recovered? Well I can think of dozens of reasons. Maybe I have some unmailed postcards or a gift I want delivered. Maybe there was enough time before the end and I’ve written a personal message to a loved one. Maybe, just maybe, I have one last piece of wisdom that I want to share with the world.

You probably have this idea in your head that nothing survives a plane crash – but that’s not completely true. A more accurate phrasing would be “very few things live through” a plane crash. Lots of stuff can be recovered especially the data from solid state devices (phones, computers) as well as paper and wallets and stuff like that.

In 2007 I met a woman whose sister was on American Airlines Flight 77 when it crashed into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. She told me that her sister’s wallet survived the impact and fire mostly intact and it contained a message for her family.

Some people might think writing about such a topic is morbid (especially while doing so on a flight as it passes over the Swiss Alps). But it’s important to examine your mortality every now and again – it’s the only constant in this world and how we deal with death says a lot about how we deal with life.

That and my ticket for this flight was only forty Euros. That’s like sixty dollars Canadian. And my flight from Eindhoven to Milan cost me *half* that. How do they pay for the fuel? What other cost-cutting measures have they implemented? When’s the last time anyone changed the oil?

Paying AirCanada $400.00 to fly an equivalent distance may seem unfair, but it does provide a small amount of reassurance that we’re not going to run out of gas half way over Lake Ontario.

Frank, they're not here for you. "Weird Al" Yankovic is on the plane.

Frank, they’re not here for you. “Weird Al” Yankovic is on the plane.

Don't worry, the plane was parked when I snapped this one.

Don’t worry, the plane was parked when I snapped this one.

5 Responses to “Day 12 of 20: Air Safely”

  1. Lottabot February 25, 2014 at 18:23 #

    Do you have a clue? Is it huge?

    • Die Hard Three February 25, 2014 at 18:24 #

      The crash investigators are the ones looking for clues.

  2. Steve February 26, 2014 at 23:12 #

    The number one reason you want you laptop to be recovered is so I can properly ensure your browser history is erased.


  1. Day 0 of ? – Blog Time | Die Hard Three - February 27, 2018

    […] written before about air travel and passenger jets – specifically regarding fuel consumption and the cost […]

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