I don’t often fly commercial.
I haven’t been on a commercial flight in nine years.
This girl prefers inflight doors.
I don’t trust airplanes and would prefer to have a rig strapped to my back and the ability to yell “Door!” and bail out if need be.
But when you’re planning a trip to Dallas and you’re only going to be there for 3 days, well, it makes sense to fly Southwest!
So here I am, on board a huge commercial airliner, with my rig stowed safely in the overhead compartment.
Staring out the window, looking down past the wing at the clouds below, I’m suddenly re-considering that whole high altitude jump thing. Too bad this door wouldn’t open – and attempting to open it would get me a nice ticket to jail. Looks like that rig is staying put!
Going through airport security with my rig was an experience. Here’s this tiny five foot three chick, wearing skinny jeans and high heeled boots… with a skydiving rig on her back.
Threatening? I don’t think so.
However, the security crew begged to differ.
I stood in my socks by the security check point for thirty minutes while they examined my rig, swabbed it, took my altimeter out of my bag, and ran everything through the x-ray about three times. I had the TSA letter and even the x-ray card from the CYPRES manual – which my rigger so thoughtfully provided before my flight – but I might as well have been holding onto a photo of my cat and a page from US Weekly, as they did not even glance at either item.
I had to use a lot of restraint to keep myself from reaching out and slapping the security guy’s hand when it came too close to pulling that reserve handle on two separate occasions.
Thankfully, someone very smart told me to tie a couple of pull up cords loosely around my handle to keep it secure – otherwise there would have been a blown reserve and a very irate skydiving chick at the security check point.
Waiting to board the plane, I got a lot of funny looks, and quite a few people just staring at me.
I also had to stop myself from doing a gear check. This is Southwest Airlines. These are whuffo passengers. This is not a jump plane!
Three people asked me if “that thing on my back” was a parachute – which of course is always followed by “how does it work?” and then immense joy and smiles from me because that gives me an excuse to ramble on about Skydiving – which, clearly, is my favorite topic of conversation! 😉
I was told by the stewardess that I “don’t look like someone who would jump out of an airplane”. I’ve been told that over half a dozen times. This confuses me. What do whuffos think that skydivers look like underneath the helmet and jumpsuit? Little green aliens? Sponge Bob??
Shortly I’ll be landing in Dallas – I’d rather be landing under canopy, but hey – touch down nonetheless!
Hopefully SkyGod is friendly to me on Sunday, skies will be blue and sunny, and then I’ll be on the road to Skydive Dallas to get a couple of warm altitude jumps in!
I absolutely love my life.