Sunday, February 03, 2008


My heightened sense of hyperbole usually drives me to insert into every story I tell an opportunity for me to be killed. Do not believe these lies. However, something happened the other day that could have actually killed me. We call this thing cabin overpressurization.
So we land in Salt Lake City, and usually what I do when we do that is open the door. But the pilots (luckily) caught me before I did this, and told me to hold off on the door opening. "Why?" I ask.
"Oh, because we're getting what may be a false reading on the cabin pressure. Just, uh... just don't open the door."
I knew what that meant. In training, they tell you that if the door ever whistles or hisses when you're on the ground, or if it's really hard to get open, to LEAVE IT THE HELL ALONE. Those symptoms indicate that there's more air pressure inside the cabin than outside, and when you open the cabin door in a situation like that, equalization will blow the entire door off the plane, and you go quickly with the door. There are stories of FAs blasting out of the door hatch and breaking their faces off on the ramp. Not just breaking their faces, mind you. Breaking them off. So you can imagine me there in the galley, shrinking away from the door that just a few moments ago seemed innocuous, but now seemed to be lying in wait with a metaphysical evil grin.
"It's OK now," the pilots say. "You can go ahead and crack it."
Well, the fact that the whole situation had been brought about by a false reading didn't instill a lot of confidence in me, but I grabbed ahold of the galley bulkhead, asked myself if I wanted to live forever, and opened the door. Somewhere between cranking the handle and pushing the door open, I decided that yes, I did want to live forever. And unfortunately for those of you who were hoping to a thrilling and gory end to this story, the door plopped open and everyone got off not knowing I could have been exploded into spinning chunks.
You could imagine that did happen, though, if you're disappointed. Just imagine me saying something cool on the way out.


Blogger AkuTyger said...

Ick, that is scary. I no longer think your job is so cool. You have ruined it for me.

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How likely was it that the FO turned to some one, and in Warrant Officer style said, "watch this shift"?

7:17 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Aku: with several hundred thousand pounds of jet fuel in tow everywhere I go, being blasted out of a door is really the least violent thing that can happen to me.
Sand: I think I actually heard him say it.

10:52 PM  

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