Fly United —At Your Own Risk

Big companies often make their top execs fly separately. This is done to prevent a plane crash from wiping out a firm’s key managers in an instant. So shouldn’t the same logic apply to your family?

I brought this up to my wife Ann before a family vacation. Look, I said: we should take different flights -each of us with one child- in case of a plane crash. She asked, “Why would you want to go on without me?”

“Well… of course I wouldn’t want to go on without you but if something happened I wouldn’t want all of us to be gone.”

She looked hurt. “If the plane was going down I’d want you there with me.”

Careful here, Rob. “This isn’t about me I explained —it’s about the kids. And if it were my plane that crashed you could carry on.”

“What about trips without the kids?”

I jumped out of my chair. “Jeez! That’s even more a reason to fly apart! You want the kids to end up orphans?”

Now before you say I’m crazy, let me offer into evidence this tragic tale of family travel that unfolded after last June’s Air France crash over the Atlantic:

Fernando Schnabl flew home from Brazil with his daughter Celine, three, hours before Christine Schnabl boarded Flight 447 with their five-year-old son , Philipe. The family always fly separately, as the parents feared that they would all die if their plane crashed. Now their worst nightmare has been realised.
Mr Schnabl and their daughter caught an earlier flight and landed safely in Paris, where they were informed that the second plane – which had taken off only a few hours later – was missing.

See! You’d think I was asking her to fly in coach while I sat up in first class. I think next time this comes up I’ll appeal to a much stronger motivation, an emotional trigger that she will find unable to resist: what would happen to the dogs if we were both gone.

8 responses to “Fly United —At Your Own Risk

  1. I thought the headline of the blog post was about United Air Lines. Which, if you’re packing any sort of guitar, you don’t want to fly with them.

  2. I was going to call it “The Family that Flys Together Dies Together,” but I was afraid that might be a little strong…

  3. I think that’s excellent advice and I’ve often thought of suggesting it. I know a family that implements it. Probably wouldn’t work well for us since one of us (not me) is obsessed with finding the absolute cheapest way to get to where we’re going, even if it’s in the dead of night walking to Stewart or wherever. There can only be one of those, so we both have to be on it.

  4. When I’m traveling with the family, I try to send the Bride to a separate city, to insure safety (and peace and quiet).

  5. Do you take 2 cars when ever you go somewhere??

  6. #5 Of course I don’t take two cars. That would be ridiculous —just like being worried about the astronomically unlikely chances of dying in a plane crash.

    Motor vehicle accidents are a very real risk that few people think about. Maybe if they saw a few accidents -the way first responders see them- they would drive a little more cautiously.

    I think there’s something about plane crashes that chills people to the bone. Few people get in the car and think that they may die —but on airplanes?

  7. Wouldn’t that whole family would be together today if they had just taken that earlier flight together?

  8. Right, #7. And all dead if they’d taken the later one. It’s the fickle finger of fate.

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