Air Cancun lands in Mazatlan—a landing so smooth that the passengers don’t even feel it. Realizing they’re on the tarmac, they cheer and applaud. Already in a holiday mood, the good vibes roll on.
Air Mali lands in Mopti—a landing that jolts and shudders along the tarmac. Looking out as the plane gradually slows, they see tires so bald their hearts jolt and they shudder with relief that they’ve landed safely in this old Russian plane, the entirety of Air Mali’s fleet–a fleet that should have been retired long, long ago. Next time they’ll take a bus.
Air France prop job descends into Avignon bracing against the Mistral winds. The plane jerks and bounces, tilting from side to side, as it’s buffeted by the winds. They pray that the pilot isn’t a rookie, clamp down on their nausea, and hold their breath until they’re on terra firma.
Air Canada nears St. John’s, Newfoundland. She chats with the young steward who has taken the only available seat beside her for landing. Suddenly, the plane drops a couple of hundred feet. She gasps. The steward assures her that there is nothing to worry about. The winds always do that in Newfoundland. Then he groans. She asks what’s wrong. He explains that he’s new on the job and forgot to collect the dinner trays from the cockpit. Trays and dishes will now be all over the place and the captain will not be pleased. She commiserates as they land smoothly, she relieved to be on the ground, he concerned about a stern lecture. She, somewhat older and wiser, tells him that the main thing is they’re all safe.