Like many quasi-neurotic people, I don’t really like to fly. But not for the reason you think. My aversion to flying isn’t so much the risk of plummeting to my death in a large metal coffin— it’s more that I can’t shake the feeling that I’m constantly being lied to. It’s just a “minor” maintenance issue that’s delayed us for three hours. No, you can’t listen to that iPod during takeoff. It might interfere with the plane’s radar system. Sorry, we’re “out” of Diet Coke. I can offer you a Fresca or a ginger ale. Like anyone believes that. We know they’re saving that sweet, sweet Diet Coke for themselves. And besides, in what world is ginger ale a substitute for a Diet Coke? Anyway, they treat us like we are children. And the bottom line is that once you’ve boarded the plane, they’ve got you. You belong to them, and they can tell you anything they want and you have no choice but to deal with it.


Here are my top picks for most egregious airline lies:

  1. I’ll be right back with that for you.

Right. I’ve been waiting on a lap blanket since 1998.

  1. If there is anything we can do to make your flight more comfortable, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Your lips say one thing, but your eyes say another.

  1. Use of cellular phones might interfere with the plane’s navigational systems.

If it’s true that a cell phone can bring down a planeload of people, then why would the FAA let 300 people get on a plane holding one? No one’s buying it; they should stop selling it.

  1. We’ll be on our way soon!

 “Soon” is a hoax. Don’t be fooled by “soon.” The runways are controlled by very precise people, who are required to time events down to the millisecond. They don’t deal in generalities such as “soon.” Air traffic control tells the pilots exactly when they will be cleared for takeoff. If they say “soon,” chances are you’re screwed.

  1. In the event of a water landing, your seat cushion can be used as a flotation device.

I call bullschnitzel on this one. I can’t say that I’ve tested the theory, but there is no way that nasty, polyester piece of junk is going to keep anyone afloat in the middle of the ocean after it’s been squashed a thousand times over by America’s obesity epidemic. Then again the whole idea of a water landing where people are alive enough to need a flotation device might be the biggest lie of all. 

Maybe the airlines think that the general population just can’t handle the truth? But we can. Don’t tell us in your cool, polished pilot voice that you’re going to have the flight attendants sit down “out of abundance of caution” because we’ve just hit some bumpy air. For God’s sake, man! Tell us that the flight attendants are tired, and they just want a freaking break from the annoying ingrates that keep ringing that humiliating call button and summoning them for more peanuts. Or, tell us that we’ve lost the left engine and the flight attendants deserve to spend their final moments guzzling tiny bottles of vodka and texting their loved ones. Either way, don’t patronize us. Just give it to us straight. (Preferably with that Diet Coke that I know you stashed somewhere for later and a side of peanuts.)

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