• Yehudit Zicklin-Sidikman

A Canceled Flight and a Hard Glimpse Into Human Behavior



On Sunday, I was supposed to fly from New York to Israel.


But, "shift happens." Here's the story:


So we're on the airplane. And we taxi out to the runway and everything stops.


And ten minutes after everything stops and we're not moving, we realize nothing’s happening. The captain gets on and says we're experiencing a technical difficulty that needs to be checked before we take off. And a few minutes later, they tell us it’s not something that can be handled here on the runway, so we have to taxi back to the gate. But they’re certain that they’ll be able to take care of it there.


Back at the gate, they tell us they’ll update us in forty-five minutes.


We're already delayed, so at this point, I’m not sure it matters.


Forty-five minutes later, they tell us everything is under control.


Okay, fine. So we taxi back to the runway and everything stops. Again. Whatever wasn't

happening before is still not happening now and we have to go back to the terminal. We wait another forty-five minutes until they tell us that the back thruster, which makes the plane stop when it lands, keeps seizing up.


Now, I don't know about everyone else, but I'm happy they figured this out before take-off.


Now, I don't know about everyone else, but I'm happy they figured this out before take-off.

So now they're trying to find a new crew because the current crew has timed out. They've spent so much time on the plane they won't be able to keep their shift under the legal, maximum, number of hours.


But they can't get a new crew. So they cancel our flight.

Now, here we are in the airport and they are offering vouchers for a cab to get you home or vouchers for a hotel to spend the night, and they put us on the next flight the next evening.


That part is fine with me.


The not fine part is watching a handful of idiots trying to stage a revolution and a sit-in at the airport, screaming at the airport staff, as if they're the ones who broke the airplane and this is all their fault.


I mean. I'm sorry, aren't you a little bit happy they didn't let us fly on a broken airplane?


But people are losing their ****.


And there is this one guy, about twenty years old, trying to convince us that nobody should leave the airport and that they should bring us a new plane. As if airports function like Uber and can make new planes magically appear? Along with a spare crew of seventeen people to fly this magical new plane to Israel?


And I'm just like, “Really? Could you just be quiet and stop yelling at people who had nothing to do with our current predicament right now and just let them do their jobs? You know, use your words, take a deep breath, do some self-care, and understand that ‘shift happens.’”


“Really? Could you just be quiet and stop yelling at people who had nothing to do with our current predicament right now and just let them do their jobs? You know, use your words, take a deep breath, do some self-care, and understand that ‘shift happens.’”

I keep looking at this one employee who is trying to help and I finally say, “You know, as a human being, you shouldn't be treated like this.”


It was sad and scary, and because yeah, this is what inappropriate behavior gets you. This is what happens when one idiot starts making impossible demands about what they deserve.

But.... who deserves to fly across the world in a broken plane?


I, for one, do not want to be in on that experiment.


In the end, I make lemonade out of lemons and had a wonderful afternoon with my parents and my aunt.


I’m happy to be safely back at home now, quarantining in my little green room.


But I’m still wondering how A) people can be so self-centered and B) people can care so little about their safety and the safety of others.


It’s going to take some time to figure that out.

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