Uh, from the flight deck, this is your captain...

Uh, from the flight deck, this is the captain. We’d like to welcome you aboard Skyward Airlines flight 3233, with service from Philadelphia to Los Angeles. That service specifically being moving you through the air between those two cities while dehumanizing you in every way possible.

Our flight plan calls for us to cruise at an altitude of 36,000 feet, which sounds crazy high to me. But what do I know? I’m just the ringmaster of this circus. Anyway, we hope you’ll just sit back, though not with your seat actually back, and enjoy the flight. As much as humanly possible, anyway.

Uh, from the flight deck, this is the captain. A brief announcement: when I referred to myself as the ringmaster of the circus I was speaking metaphorically. There are no clowns or wild animals in this cockpit. Well, except for First Officer Dougie. Now, feel free to relax and enjoy the flight, while preparing at any moment to engage in emergency crash landing procedures.

Uh, from the flight deck, this is your captain. Dougie up here reminded me that some of his in-laws are on board and he’s a little miffed that I may have given the impression that the way he and I used to cat around back in the day is still the status quo. That’s a negative on the status quo from back in the day. I repeat, negative on the catting around status quo from back in the day. Dougie is a happily married man and is entirely faithful to Janet at all times. Now just sit back in an upright position with your tray table stowed and your feet under the 15 pounds of personal items placed under the seat in front of you, and make a good faith effort to enjoy your flight.

Uh, from the flight deck, this is the captain reporting a bit of a good news/bad news situation up here. As you may have noticed, we haven’t moved a mother loving inch since we closed the cabin doors. The good news is this is nothing to be alarmed about, as an aircraft that remains motionless on the ground is an aircraft at low risk for plummeting from the sky. The bad news is, we’ll be stuck here, where you all will feel increasingly trapped like sardines in a tin can, until we make a very late departure, at which point, yes, there will be an increased risk of plummeting from the sky, because upon departure we will be moving, and quite rapidly, I might add. We will also be quite a ways off the ground, which, in all candor, does mean that in the unlikely event that any plummeting situation should occur, the cessation of said plummeting will be more consequential than if we, say, jumped the curb on the runway. Not expecting any plummeting, just want to cover off on all possibilities. We should be getting under way eventually, so just sit back, enjoy the sensation of not moving while planted firmly on the ground, and enjoy this indeterminate pre-flight interlude.

Uh, from the flight deck, this is the captain. You may have noticed we just started to roll back. That was my bad. We didn’t have clearance to do that yet. We’re awaiting instructions from the tower as to whether we should roll back forward to where we were, but as of now, it sounds like they are a little upset with me and just want me to, in their words, “stay put and don’t go playing cowboy on the taxiway.” Just sit back, sit tight, and I’ll be back shortly with more information, presumably. Thank you.

Uh, from the flight deck, this is the captain. A little inside baseball here. You may not have realized it, but the jetway? That long serpentine indoor-outdoor kinda hallway thing that you walked through to get from the terminal to the aircraft? Well, folks, you probably didn’t know this—fact is, I’m just learning it myself, but it has other functions. Namely to provide standby power to the aircraft when it is parked at the gate. Now, as you may remember, a little while ago I mentioned that I did a little-bitty unauthorized rollback. Based on my instrument readings and the angry gesticulations from the ground crew, it appears that our standby power connection has been severed, and so very shortly I will be shutting down all non-essential power consuming systems, such as cabin lighting, cabin ventilation and the pumps that supply that blue water to flush the toilets. This is only a temporary condition while we are stuck here in limbo halfway between the gate and the runway. As soon as I am authorized to move the aircraft, we’ll be bringing the engines up to speed, and they should be able to recharge those non-essential cabin systems well before halfway through the flight. Which, by the way, could be getting under way at any moment. Or not. Hard to say. Now, just sit back, and enjoy some quality sitting time in the stuffy darkness. And for the benefit of your fellow passengers, for the time being, please refrain from using the restrooms for anything other than number one. Thank you.

Uh, from the flight deck, this is the captain. I forgot to let you know that we were given permission to roll back from the gate. Well, we were given permission to roll back from where we had already rolled back a little from the gate already. You have probably already realized this, as for some time the aircraft has been rolling hither and yon as we traverse the lengthy and serpentine route to our takeoff runway, which we are just now turning onto. I would have announced this sooner, but there’s been a lot going on up here, what with all of the driving of the aircraft that I’m responsible for and everything, and I should probably cut this communication short, because this is the important part of the takeoff checklist where I actually do the things I need to do, like jam the throttle hard onto full power, to get this enormous and heavily laden aircraft airborne. It’s not a big deal, I’ve done this kind of thing many times before, but, really, let me get back to you, because we’re approaching the speed at which it is too late to abort our takeoff and I only have a couple of fractions of a second to figure out what this little flashing light and audible alarm are trying to tell me. Not to worry, I’ll be back with you momentarily, successful takeoff or not. Now just sit back, remain strapped in, and remember it might not be a good idea to have any sharp objects in your pockets. Thank you.

Uh, from the flight deck, this is the captain. Well, we made it! Into the sky, I mean. Are those airport engineers good or what? They designed that runway to be 8,600 feet because they knew someday a flight like ours would need every last inch of it. I’m a little in awe, frankly. But now that we’ve heaved this massive lumbering bird into the sky, our autopilot is taking over and it’s pretty much a piece of cake from here on out. Well, until we have to land in a couple/few hours. But don’t you worry about that now. I’ll update you when we have that mess to look forward to.

Uh, from the flight deck, this is the captain. Did I forget to announce that we were heading into that turbulence that we just headed into? Sorry about that. Better late than never I guess. If that last jolt didn’t help you figure it out, it’s a real good idea to remain in your seat with your seatbelt fastened to avoid smacking your head into the overhead compartments. If that just happened to you, then it’s pretty obvious you’ll want to avoid it from happening again, so word to the wise and all that. By the way, in my experience, scalp wounds bleed a lot but are usually not all that serious. If you can’t stanch the blood flow, please press the call button and a member of our flight crew will bring over some towels, although they can’t really get up now either, because, hey, after all, they’re on the same aircraft as you, and as I intimated, we’re going to be bouncing all over the sky like a pinball for God knows how long. Now, just sit back, relax with your hands clenched firmly on both armrests, try to keep the blood out of your eyes as best you can for the time being, and enjoy the remainder of the flight, which, God willing, won’t be until we land at our arrival airport.

Uh, from the captain, this is your flight deck. I beg your pardon. You know what I mean. As you may have noticed, we have begun our initial descent, which is why, if you are sitting by a window, everything on the ground looks a lot bigger now. That’s just an illusion. It’s all the same size, we’ve just gotten smaller. All part of standard landing procedure. I’d like to remind you to sit back and relax as you remain strapped in, alert and ready for any eventuality. I’ll be honest, I’m not in love with the way landings work at this airport, although I’m certainly not complaining. Other pilots seem to have no problem with it, so I’m big enough to admit that maybe it’s just me. At any rate, it’s always worked out fine up until now, for all intents and purposes. You may not even be able to tell what kind of a nightmare we are going through up here as we try to bring this beast down safely. So hang in there, and I’ll be back with our final announcement once we stop skidding and I’m pretty sure everything is A-OK. Please keep us in your thoughts.

Uh, from the flight deck, this is your captain. We’d like to welcome you to Los Angeles, which is, it turns out, our correct destination, although there was some brief disagreement about that up here for a moment. We know you have a choice of airlines, and we do appreciate your choosing Skyward for your travel needs today. And we hope that the big takeaway is that everything worked out this time, more or less, so why not give us a shot at it again sometime? Now, as you prepare to disembark, we’d like to wish you a nice stay in San Diego.

Uh, from the flight deck, this is the captain one final time. I mean Los Angeles. Sorry.