I have always been apprehensive of flying.
There is something about being at the complete mercy of forces beyond my control that makes me fidgety. It is a feeling that can make me toss logic aside. Why should I feel my life is on the line when traveling by a commercial carrier is statistically safer than driving?
Although my fears have somewhat dissipated over the years, there are moments when they come out of the shadows. One of those moments involves the use of airline-speak.
Flight attendants usually announce the last segment of a trip by saying, “We will be making our initial descent soon.”
A little later they add, “We are starting our final descent.”
First of all, a descent is a descent. It is the process of guiding the aircraft to the runway. Why bifurcate the terminology? They could just say, “We will be making our approach to the airport and landing in 30 minutes.”
I can easily disregard the needless adjectives, except for the use of the term final. Don’t they realize the meaning final conveys….such as the final act, never to be repeated?
I recall hearing a story of the panic an Aeroflot flight attendant created when she told the passengers in broken English to “quickly secure their belongings because the plane was going down.”
There was nothing technically wrong with the syntax, but the message conveyed that a disaster was imminent.
Until the airlines cease using needless adjectives such as “final” to describe a fundamental procedure essential to a safe arrival, my eyes will always be fixed on the closest escape routes, further feeding my anxiety – after all, where is the exit if your name is not Salida?.