Thursday, July 24, 2014

Not Inspiring Confidence

I am not usually a nervous flyer. But it seems bizarre that with about a decade of accident-free major aviation -- Air France 447 notwithstanding -- behind us, two major accidents involving one of the most modern jets flying today, the 777, in the last 151 days or so, and then two more smaller but no less worrying accidents, one in Taiwan and one in Africa just this morning have occurred.

I think if this had been the case last year, when I was flying China Airlines for the first time, and our 747 sat on the tarmac at JFK in 30-degree heat for about two hours for no apparent reason, fueling my fears, if you will, of a center wing tank explosion such as what brought down TWA Flight 800, then I would be very, very nervous right about now.

However, my route is extremely benign: Montreal to Toronto, then Toronto to Tokyo/Haneda by Air Canada, then Haneda -> Kansai with ANA. Both these airlines have amazingly good recent safety records and we aren't going to be flying over any war zones. However, If I had a globe handy, I would probably see that the Toronto -> Haneda leg overflies Russian territory (can you believe I was about to type "Soviet" territory?)

The only thing that is bothering me about this trip so far is that there is a major heat wave occurring in Japan at the moment.

When you consider that the average Japanese summer could be considered one long heat wave, this is disturbing news.

I guess this might be the summer that I spend most of my time inside the air conditioned hotel room . . . I don't think I will be wandering off on strange journeys, trapped on oven-hot train platforms.

Thank God this will be the third summer in a row that I will be staying in almost exactly the same neighbourhood, so I'll know my way around and the best places to have dinner.

If last time was any indication, many of the same people will be working at those locations and will be welcoming me back like a returning hero.

Plus the fact that as I was leaving last year, they were just opening a convenience store about one minute's walk from my hotel, so there won't be any unnecessary ten minutes of heat blast as I go in search of something cold to drink.

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