Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Painting the Plane

I have returned home. I left for the Tampa airport at 12:30 this afternoon for a 3 p.m. flight. At 3 p.m. we were still sitting on the runway because, according to the pilot, "the mechanics had to paint a small area of the plane."

It was a full flight. When I say "full" I mean they came through and counted the three empty seats there were when everyone who was ticketed was on the plane - one of which was in the middle of my row - and then let three more people on. I guess so we could all experience the sardine effect for an extended period of time while they painted the plane.

Who decides once there's a completely full flight is a good time to paint? The mechanics in Tampa, apparently. They couldn't have done this at some point when there weren't people on the plane?

Then, to top it off, we waited another 40 minutes for them to do the paperwork related to the painting, and return the log book. This was after the flight attendants had rushed us all to get our luggage stored so we would have an on time departure.

I arrived at my connecting flight in Houston as they were boarding, but I did get on.

When I gave my bags to the skycap for check in outside, he weighed them and told me they were five pounds overweight. I brought back lots of paper from the conference. I smiled and said, "well, I'm only checking one bag. I have an empty one inside. I can unpack it and redistribute the weight and check two instead." At that point he said, "ah, I'm a skycap. I don't work for the airline. I'll just take care of it for you." Taking care of it meant putting a "heavy - lift with your knees" tag on it and plopping it on the carousel. I'll remember this trick in the future.

Apparently they're on a weight of bags tear because two other people on the plane were talking about it. Of course, I had plenty of time to eavesdrop while they were painting and writing about painting.