September 13, 2008

Captain Mad Dog

We're waiting for the plane to push back from the gate. Suddenly there's a blast of harmonica playing from the speakers, it has the passengers all looking around in confusion. A gravelly voice starts singing the blues: "Welcome to our flight/We're glad you're on board/Fasten your seat belts/let's get on the road/I'm bad to the bone/ ..."

(Words to that effect).

I'm a blues harp hopeful myself, so I'm captivated by this. Then the harmonica stops and the gravelly voice continues: "Now that I have your attention ... I'm Captain Mad Dog Watson, your pilot for today's flight" and he gets on with the usual spiel about flying times and weather. To conclude, he tells us that "Joe here" and he have a total of over 98 years of flying experience between them, and over 87000 hours in the air, "so we intend to get you there safely. ... So welcome aboard, y'all!"

When he's done, he plays a final riff and the whole plane breaks into spontaneous applause. The girl next to me, gloomy so far, shakes with laughter and then starts thumbing her cellphone intently. When that's done, she pulls out a short blue lipstick-looking thing with which she paints her lips as if it's stuck to her skin, loosens her hair and shakes it out for a good five minutes.

A flight attendant announces, "This is the flight to White Plains. If this not where you plan to be this afternoon, it soon will be."

The girl next to me pulls out two huge, I mean coffee-table-book-size, psychology books and starts reading, sniffing constantly. She clearly has a bad cold. She asks the flight attendant for a fistful of paper napkins, then asks me if she can switch off the air vents operating above us. Smiling again when that's done, she tells me she's on her way to her brother's wedding.

When we land, the gravelly voice is back, but this time sans the blues harp. "Nobody loves you and your money as I do," says Captain Mad Dog, "so you come back and see us again real soon!"

I think I might.


km said...

Let me guess: Southwest Airlines?

Kavi said...

I imagined myself up there ! It sure must have been one heck of an announcement !!

OOh !

Sidhusaaheb said...

God bless Captain Mad Dog and the likes of him!


Dilip D'Souza said...

km, nope. AirTran.

Kavi, it was fun. And Sidhu, my sentiments exactly.

Anonymous said...

"short blue lipstick-looking thing"? Sounds like Chapstick to me.

Anonymous said...

His usual lines in the opening are:

Good Morning and welcome
Come in and sit down
and fasten your seatbelt
or we can't leave town.

He's one of the senior most captains at AirTran. BTW - he's already worn out one harmonica.

Mad Puppy said...

lol that's my dad ... he's been doing it since i was little (now 27)

Anonymous said...

Absolutely the most friendly, professional, and entertaining commercial flight from Atlanta, ever!

Kelly said...

Mad Puppy, I was a flight attendant at Eastern Airlines when your dad was a pilot there, and he was a true joy to work with! I'm proud to say I flew with him!