Pan Am and Allegiant Air jet emergency training included, and still includes, emergency water landings. Every airline trains their flight service personnel in jet emergency. We were also trained in hotel crises: like surviving a fire and what to do when room service stops. Which was often before we arrived on layover, hungry and tired.
In Pan Am’s jet emergency training, we learned to secure and open aircraft doors and to deploy the slides, get people out of a crashed plane if we were still conscious; administer first aid, put out fires, prepare the aircraft for emergency landings, including water landings, evacuations, survival at sea, and how to make more coffee for refills in the cockpit and cabin.
I was at our community pool for a regular work out the other day. Allegiant Air flight attendants were there for water emergency training. There was an inflated life raft in the pool and the flight attendants were wearing their life vests and bobbing in the water around the raft. Two hundred passengers were with them, still trying to figure out how to put on their life vests, while the flight attendants yelled instructions.
I kid; passengers weren’t there. They were enjoying their current flight somewhere in the wild blue yonder.
After a few minutes, the flight attendants climbed aboard the raft and sat around in a circle staring at each other. As per instructions–should this ever happen in real life–they began singing “Kumbaya, my Lord! Get me out of this and I’ll never ask you for anything again!”
Then they pulled the tarp up over the raft and roasted marshmallows and weenies. Not an easy task in a raft floating in a pool, but flight attendants are prepared for anything.
However, the passengers objected to being called weenies.
I was so incensed that I didn’t get to do this in Honolulu of all places, the place where we went for six weeks of training with Pan Am–a city surrounded by awesome beaches and water–that I posted a demand for a Do Over to my former Pan Am buddies on Facebook.
A few replied that we had done it.
We’d thrown the raft in the Holiday Inn pool, inflated it and climbed aboard, just like Allegiant Air did, but I have no memory of the life raft.
The rest of that week of jet emergency is fresh in my mind banks: I used the bull horn to shout that the police were there and to “Come out with your hands up!” We learned to use the fire extinguishers, perform first aid, and how to open the mock up aircraft door. The instructions we gave to two flight attendants/passengers were, “You and you. Go to the bottom of the slide, help people off, and send them away. Repeat what you will do.”
We had to keep saying this to people because we knew they would run away to the terminal, order a vodka martini, and call home.
I sweated out the final exam, because I’d had so much fun all week, I’d failed to pay close attention to the stuff that would be on the test.
Even though I recall most of my jet emergency training, I’ve completely spaced the water day. One flight attendant on Facebook commented that he remembered the survival manual on board the raft. It was secured in a little supply box. He recalled a tidbit in it instructing us not to eat polar bear liver as it had too much vitamin K. Too much vitamin K is bad for you.
I will let a moment of silence ensue for that to sink in.
This was helpful? Were we going to be floating around in the Atlantic in our raft for so long that we’d have to learn to kill, skin, and cook polar bear? One bear liver can’t be enough to feed more than two people, probably two first class passengers, one of whom will whine they “Don’t like liver, do we have anything else?”
He’s the one missing from the passenger roster and is still bobbing in the sea somewhere.
Sorry, Economy, you’re out of luck. You can have the pancreas and this dried piece of something I found on the floor of the raft. I think it’s an old weenie left over from our campfire.
How did they know we’d be stranded in the Frozen North? What about dumping us in the Caribbean? Warm waters, daiquiris, and only a few sharks here and there. Can we eat shark liver or is there too much iron in it? Did they include sunscreen on the raft? There were instructions for collecting rain water to drink, I know that.
I want a copy of that manual. Because after my blood has thickened from too much vitamin K in the polar bear liver, I want to learn how to build an igloo and turn that polar bear into an awesome blanket. Maybe carve seal bone into spears.
Do not tell the powers that be where we’ve been floating for the last six months. I’m about to named head of our now native tribe of passengers and flight service, and am getting the hang of forming ice into blocks. You shoulda seen my first efforts. We laughed and used them in our drinks.
We’ve chosen a name for our tribe: The Panallegiant Tribe of Alaska. You’ll recognize us. We have thick blood and wear life vests with strange logos on them.