One night I was having a drink at the Ledes and Layoffs Club in Philadelphia, my peace disturbed by a too-loud group pounding tables in bad rhythm and jocosely threatening not to pay for their rounds. "An airline crew," the bartender whispered. "They work for Northeast."
Next week, different crew, same airline, same behaviour.
Some months later, the club a bit more crowded, the music a bit louder, the behaviour a bit worse. "These guys fly for Northeast, too?" I asked.
"Nope," the bartender said, "Epsilon Airlines."
Now, what may we conclude? That commercial-airline flight crews, worn to a frazzle and wound tight by endless rules and procedures and by the tight quarters in which they work, rendered light-headed by jet lag, go nuts when let loose in a strange city? Or maybe these three crews (from two real airlines whose names have been changed to avoid embarrassing the club or its customers) were just jerks.
In any case, next time I go to Europe, I may take the train. (Read more about flying here, including a comment that suggests another plausible explanation for flight crews' blowing off steam.)
© Peter Rozovsky 2009