So it began by arriving at the airport, which seemed an amalgamation of different airports that I have been to. My father and I somehow immediately got to our terminal and then boarded the plane. We were flying Southwest as usual (the only airline I fly it seems).
When I first entered the plane something seemed odd. It’s tiny! It was built to hold maybe 10 people and seemed smaller than a learjet, although I’m not sure what their capacity is (and don’t feel like looking it up). It takes off quickly, even before my father is fully seated and then right when it is high enough, the plane angles up sharply and proceeds to do a loop in the night sky as if to impress the inhabitants. I liked this seeming that I’ve never really gone to any theme parks or done anything “exhilarating” like that.
So we cruise along for a while in slightly foggy conditions until I decide to ask my father more about the airplane and how he acquired this particular type of flight. He informs me that it is a new autopilot flying system devised to saved costs, and apparently southwest is the first to go whole-hog into this concept. I.E. there are no pilots. I admit I was a bit alarmed — but only a bit as even in dreamtime stress doesn’t seem very fun.
“Let’s check out the cockpit,” I tell my dad. Apparently, don’t ask me why, Southwest is also allowing their untrained passengers to monitor the functions and direction of the flight and, if the autopilot function fails, take over the controls! Okay …
Well, oddly enough we are still cruising at low altitude (as in 40 ft above the ground, going through an old snowy logging road from what I can tell). A band of guides of some sort emerge to our right and seem to be telling us (perhaps telepathically) that we should not go on autopilot and should head up and over the trees and go higher to avoid stormy weather. My father agrees with them and I go along with it, so we take the controls and attempt to pull the plane up and over the trees. These trees are huge! They must be thousands of feet high and seem to be growing higher as I approach them, which I humbly accept.
It doesn’t take long to realize that we are totally untrained pilots. Approaching the trees, I find that the graceful circle in the sky that the autopilot maneuvered earlier was totally beyond my abilities. I’m the one at the wheel now, my father coaching me. After realizing that I won’t be able to ascend above the trees, I try to go through them. Hahaha, no. I hit a tree or two, somewhat in a pin-ball like fashion and then our plane glides down to the lower elevations but seems okay. Nice! I tell my father that I am not so sure about this “auto-pilot” concept. He reticently agrees (why isn’t he convinced!!!).
We return to the airport, deciding to seek alternatives. We arrive and seek out the Southwest desk. A concessions stand attendant informs us that we are standing in the location of where the Southwest booth will be “setting up” this afternoon. It’s still 8 AM and we cant wait that long. So we return to the autopilot flights and board another, this time with more people.