The loudspeaker crackled, “Flight 777 now boarding. Please step up to the turnstile.”
I joined the line behind those who were heading for the turnstile, ready to enter the crocodile boarding tube that led into the airplane.
The attendant examined each boarding pass and passport and compared the passenger’s name to his flight manifest. Just ahead of me there was confusion at the turnstile. The attendant searched for the man’s name on his manifest and shook his head. The man insisted that he look again, that his name must be there.
“Let’s see that boarding pass again,” the attendant said. The man handed it over. The attendant frowned. “But, sir, this isn’t even your flight. Your flight leaves from Gate 6. Sorry.”
The man turned away in disgust and headed toward Gate 6.
The attendant looked after him and commented, “I feel so sorry for him. That airline has a terrible history. He certainly made the wrong choice when he opted to fly on that.”
The line now went forward and into the plane without further problem. As I stepped into the plane, the steward held out his hand to help me in. “My name is Pedro,” he said. “You can ring for me or one of the attendants if you need help in getting seated.”
I was curious and over my shoulder I asked Pedro, “What is the seating capacity of this plane?”
He smiled. “I couldn’t say for sure, but I do know for sure that everyone who is booked on this plane is going to have a seat. No one who tries to fly with us ever gets turned away.”
I glanced down the aisle and was amazed by two things. First, I couldn’t even see the tail of the plane. The plane was so long. But, more amazing yet, was the fact that there was no economy class. We were all in first class.
I found my seat and put my coat in the overhead compartment. It was empty/ The travel regulations didn’t allow any baggage.
The pilot’s cabin door was open and I could see a kind-looking man with glistening white hair seated in front of the control panel. I glanced at him, and then quickly looked again, studying him closely. Was this the man who was responsible for getting us to our destination? I shivered. Could he do it?
Soon Pedro closed the pilot’s cabin door, picked up a microphone, and announced, “We will be taking off in a few minutes. The rules and regulations of the airline are in the pocket in front of your seat. Please study them. It will make your flight more enjoyable.”
A few minutes later he stood again and this time held a thick, leather-bound book aloft. “If you care for reading material during the flight, we have sufficient for everyone.” He said.
Takeoff was extremely smooth and soon we were flying above the billowing white clouds which blotted out any sign of earth beneath.
Sometime later another steward stood and announced, “My name is Miguel, ladies and gentlemen. The pilot tells me there is lots of turbulence up ahead so tighten your seat belts. Don’t be perturbed, though. He promises to get us through safely. He always does so he speaks from experience.”
Next Miguel announced, “Refreshments are available. Just press the button above your seat. If you feel a little sick or uncomfortable, try the refreshments and you’ll be O.K.”
“What a switch from normal airplane cuisine,” I thought as I saw the bread and wine they were passing out. But they were both delicious.
Just as the pilot promised, he safely got through all the turbulent spots, and the landing was as smooth as the takeoff had been. As we left the plane, I turned to my seat companion and asked, “Did you see the pilot’s hands? She nodded.
Then I asked a question that had troubled me during the entire flight, “How on earth could he manage the controls? How could he fly the plane with those injured hands?
She smiled and said, “Didn’t you read about that in that book? Those hands are the precise reason that he is able to take us on this flight and get us to our destination.”
Suddenly it dawned on me where we were. In Never-never Land, the land where there is never an end, it goes on forever.
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