Tuesday, October 31, 2006


A lot of the fun of the line of work I was in (overseas construction work) was traveling to out of the way places on local airlines. Chickens in the cabin were common. In Peru, sixty years ago, we landed on a remote field high in the Andes that had absolutely no passenger facilities. But the place was charming and exciting. Inca Indians were everywhere.

I was pleased, 44 years ago, to find a decent restaurant in the Da Nang airport. It was housed in an interesting old French Colonial building. One thing about the French, they left good restaurants in the wake of their retreats.

Not so much fun was trying to get off the ground in a badly overloaded DC3 at the Tehran airport. The pilot aborted the takeoff twice before finally getting off the ground on the third try. I have never learned to relax in those situations.

Flying today on local airlines is different. When I heard about the Nigerian plane crash, the first thought that occurred to me was, “I wonder how many generals were on board?” I swear that is true.

It turns out there were no generals but:

ABUJA, Oct 29 (Reuters) - A Nigerian passenger jet crashed shortly after takeoff from the capital Abuja on Sunday, killing 99 people including the leader of the nation's 70 million Muslims.

You can read the article *HERE*.

There is a lesson to be learned here. It may be coincidence but too many planes are going down with important people on board. So the next time you’re in Mombasa or Huambo and are about to board a chicken-laden plane, take a look at your fellow passengers. If you see someone that looks important who has an entourage, give the flight a pass.

Just tell them, “No thanks. I’ll catch the next one.”


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