Tuesday, October 31, 2006

What About Those P.A.'s??

One reader commented about the lack of announcements by pilots and the frustration of not knowing where she was or what particular landmarks were. So I thought I'd post with some of the "philosophies" of pilots making P.A.'s.

The first question we ask ourselves is, "What is the primary makeup of our passengers on this flight?" If we are headed to New York, it is probably mostly businessmen. They want to hear when we are going to get there and what the weather is...and then SHUT UP!!! I'm busy back here!!! But if we are headed to Orlando, it's probably mostly tourists on vacation, so then it's far better to be a bit more "chatty" and point out things of interest...time permitting, of course. The more difficult calls are places like Los Angeles or San Diego, where there could easily be mixture of tourists and businessmen. You have to draw a fine line there about talking too much versus not talking enough. And of course, this assumes there isn't an undercast obscuring everything....

The next question is, "Can they actually see what we are talking about?" I've got a much better view than you do, so I have to decide if what I am looking at can be discerned by the average passenger through his window. If I have to say something like, "look at the fourth mountain peak on the right, just past the second village in the third valley...and you'll see a couple of mountain goats fighting." Well... let's just say the absurdity of the example says it all.

The final question is, "What time is it?" Is it really early or really late? If people are sleeping, the last thing they want to hear is my voice over a scratchy loudspeaker describing the largest forest in the state of Nebraska (there IS one, by the way...and it IS visible from the air!).

So, it's a judgment call on our part. I've had flights where I've bent over backwards to point out all the neat stuff across the Rockies, only to be told I talked too much. I've had other flights where I only made a few announcements and was told I didn't say enough. I guess you can't please everyone!

So the next time you appreciate the informational announcements your pilot makes...tell him! I guarantee he will appreciate it!