I grew up loving aviation. I loved the idea of heights. That is because I loved risk. Risk is that voice in your head telling you to take a gamble. Jump off a waterfall, or point a revolver at your head in a game of Russion Roulette. However, I also love travelling and seeing the world and civilization grow before my very eyes.
That’s why I got the job of a flight attendant, and apparently I’m training in aviation for a higher position such as pilot or co-pilot. Really, people always say to me things like “holy shit, your job is to travel the world?”. As fun as it is, the job can get strenuous as we have clean-up duty and occasionally cleaning “Loo” room (I honestly don’t know why it is put under British slang, but I guess that’s how good old Nova Scotia is. Going by some British slang or something). Given the fact that we go through many, and when I say many, I mean many passengers for each flight.
Well that doesn’t matter, for now.
Entering the flight after receiving some documents, I headed off to the “Attendant’s Quarters” as the called it. Passengers flooded in and I began to get those jitters of excitement. I’ve barely gone on these huge Boeings and I’m normally using small planes to fly.
Now, to mention, this is a pretty big plane. A Boeing 777 complete with beds and circular luxury seats and tables with a movie screen for First Class. Behind those seats were the Economy Class passengers with movie screens and little remote controls. Passengers were offered slippers and earbuds as they began listening to the safety instructions. Hearing snippets of different parts of the instructions, I met my fellow attendants.
The first was a 25 year old woman, with a name tag saying “Hello, my name is Melanie”. She was a gorgeous lady, she looks French and a bit Irish. Beautiful auburn hair that was wavy and bouncy. Absolutely perfect face and her physique was not that far behind.
“Hi, I’m Melanie, so nice to meet you. What’s your name?”
“Oh...hey, my name’s Caleb. How are you tonight?”
“Absolutely fabulous…” came the soft answer.
She seemed nice enough. While I was just standing there trying to avoid being socially awkward. She headed off to the front of the plane to have some words with the Co-Pilot.
Next was another lady that looks exactly like Melanie but younger. Maybe they were related? Her tag read “Sherry”, a woman in her early 20’s and heterochromatic.
She walks by me without saying anything. I get it, because it’s only day one of jobs (or at least we’re at new and different airports) and no one really had to many social skills with fellow attendants.
The plane took off a few minutes later and I had to plug my ears a bit to get that popping out and the earplugs in.
Us flight attendants weren’t summoned until 2 hours. Starting out of the quarters, I marched to the front of the plane to fetch refreshments. Melanie was there as will getting a handful of sprite, coke, crush, water, mineral water, and god knows what else. Me on the other hand, I had nothing more than the cart of food for 1st class and Economy down.
I hear the gentle snores of the passengers and the occasional cry from a toddler. Kids watching the mini screen TV both in 1st and Economy and the cockpit and crew running normally, too normally….
At the one hour mark, we have hit our first wave of turbulence. The co-pilot announcing the turbulence through the mic. However, I can hear scuffling in the background, probably static. I went back to Melanie who was still dishing out trays of the noodles, burgers, pasta, and whatever the hell they serve on this plane.
“Need some help?” I asked
“Oh my, I’m fine, thanks though.”
I could tell that she was definitely not fine. She was balancing a dish in her right hand, another in her left, and another one on her head. I oddly pictured her as a circus performer. Balancing plates, hula-hoops, and rings wherever she can on her body. She is overworking herself and it’s only an hour into the 8 hour flight to France.
Now, on this plane, the pilot gives us notifications on storms, or turbulence or anything. The messages are kept in the attendant’s quarters.
I walked by the attendant’s quarters to be met with a series of dings, and messages from the pilot. 24 of them to be exact, and they were all turbulence warnings.
Now, on a plane, the turbulence warning was put on once, and once only.
In that same moment, Melanie came by to notice the same thing, along with the other attendant, Sherry.
“I swear to god the pilot is high.” came that remark of contempt from Sherry. Therefore, she had to go to the cockpit to talk to the pilot who is seemingly the perpetrator of these pings and she would be the one to ask “what’s the big deal?”.
Now, there was one more thing that appealed to me. When I took a glimpse at the passenger’s mini tellys, there was no turbulence warning. When the pilot makes an announcement and ping to the messages, it should appear on the televisions. There was no sign of a warning.
I heard Melanie sarcastically smirk, “well shit, must be a glitch in the matrix.”
“You know what fuck it, it’s probably just a technological glitch.” I gave a sharp retort.
Sherry, however was quite stubborn with this and said, “I ‘m having a good talk with this pilot or co-pilot to see what the hell he’s doing.”
With that she left.
It was just me and Melanie. Melanie and I both resumed our normal duties. Grabbing the refills for Orange juice, Sprite, and coke. Along with the food, and prepping the ear plugs for the next flight because the flight altitude can do wonky things to your ears.
Plus, people like their sleep.
I liked this job, and as usual, everything is quite smooth and efficient.
After the last refreshment, I went back in the attendant’s quarters for a hot break. Just pondering about my day, and watching dumb videos on my phone.
However, after all that work, I noticed something.
Something didn’t feel right. That’s when it hit me.
Sherry is still gone doing who knows what.
We are now halfway to France and the first 4 hours of the flight was fine. However, Sherry was still not back yet.
“What the hell, no one talks to the pilot for like 3 hours straight.” I said.
Behind me, Melanie said, “Well bitch better be back soon.”
After standing in the quarters, I just had to take a look at the cockpit.
Of course I was this curious because this was literally my very first time working in Halifax, and things are getting seriously weird. I never actually expected something like this to happen. The pilot being absolutely wonkers and while everything is fine here, the cockpit could most definitely be another story.
I went to the front of the plane, and down the cockpit. However, I saw the oddest thing.
The plane was on autopilot.
I know the auto-pilot thing is supposed to be 99% safe because this is a passenger plane and if anyone dies from a plane crash or some other shit that the weather decides the throw at us or the engine screwing up, then we’d be getting lawsuits in a flash.
The cockpit seemed untouched
Including the Co-pilot’s place, and I know for a fact that the Co-pilot is on the plane. However, I never actually did see him. All I know is that Melanie has interacted with him and he should be a reliable person to go to when we have to question about the mechanics of our job or the plane. I searched for this Pilot. I literally looked everywhere. I looked in the bathroom, back end of the plane, the attendant’s quarters, or even if it’s in the lanes where the passengers are sitting. The thing is that, I never actually found this pilot. It’s only the first day of the job and the pilot already went AWOL.
I went back down to the cockpit for a final look. Now, I took a look at the controls of the plane. I looked at the screen. To find that the plane has been on autopilot…the entire time we were on the plane.
“Shit shit shit shit” were the first things I was thinking. I went back up to Melanie.
“Melanie!” I shouted.
“Oh my god, what happened Caleb?” she asked, a bit panicked.
“I don’t think there was ever a pilot on the plane.” I said.
“Okay, where did you get something like that?” she asked.
I walked her down to the cockpit to the control panel to show that the plane was on autopilot for the entire trip.
“Oh shit, you’re right.” she said.
“C’mon, we should go and ask the co-pilot what is going on.” I said.
“Well I know what he looks like.” Melanie snapped, and she didn’t wait for a moment to head off to look for the co-pilot.
“Can you tell me what he looks like?” I asked.
“Pixie cut hair that is off to the side and looks kind of British. His name is Jack Wallace.” she said.
“Thanks” I replied. With that, she headed off to the lanes.
I observed the cockpit a bit more. I was digging through the stuff and boxes that were there to provide clues on where the Pilot was. Maybe he took a day off and substituted himself with the auto-pilot, and the co-pilot would be filling in for him. Yeah, that should be it.
I went up to the front of the plane to find a wall with the pictures of the staff. “Staff May of 2016” it read. The picture was taken 3 days before today. I went further to see the staff sign in sheet. It includes all of the staff for today. I signed in the moment I stepped on.
However, there was no “Jack Wallace” in the sign in sheet. Instead, there was a “Michael Iglesias” in the lane that says “co-pilot. I seven found Mr. Iglesias in the photos.
Then who is Jack Wallace?
“No, this can’t be.” I thought. “Is there someone on the plane who wasn’t supposed to be there?”
I had to find Melanie. Who knows who Jack Wallace actually is.
Okay, so the foremost issue with this draft is the rampant tense-hopping. You will need to fix that before this will be ready to post.
This draft also suffers from some issues that damage the narrator's credibility in terms of appearing as if they know about airplanes.
For one thing, I don't know if it would be possible for someone to tell how long a plane had been on autopilot just from glancing at the instrument panel. And even if it is possible, a person knowledgeable enough to know what they were looking at would not describe it as simply looking at "the screen." There are multiple screens in an airline cockpit and whatever screen such information was displayed on would have a specific name.
"Maybe he took a day off and substituted himself with the auto-pilot, and the co-pilot would be filling in for him. Yeah, that should be it."
There is no civilian plane on Earth that can take off or land on autopilot. Doing so would require the airport itself to be modified with homing beacons and special transponders. And it would be very illegal for a co-pilot to launch a flight without the captain. A layperson might not know these things, but a flight attendant certainly would.
In addition, this draft suffers from a lot of wonky wording throughout.
"That’s why I got the job of a flight attendant, and apparently I’m training in aviation for a higher position such as pilot or co-pilot."
The narrator would definitely know whether or not they were in pilot training. A better way to say it would be "That's why I became a flight attendant, and recently I applied and was selected for pilot training."
"As fun as it is, the job can get strenuous as we have clean-up duty and occasionally cleaning “Loo” room (I honestly don’t know why it is put under British slang, but I guess that’s how good old Nova Scotia is. Going by some British slang or something)."
I believe it's just called "the loo", not "loo room", and I don't think it's just a Canadian thing.
"Now, there was one more thing that appealed to me. When I took a glimpse at the passenger’s mini tellys, there was no turbulence warning."
That's not what "appeal" means.
As for the story itself, it seems like a pretty generic "plane is flying itself and people start going missing" plot. I could give you suggestions for the plot but I would need a clearer idea of what direction you intend to take it.
When I was doing research on the event that the story is based off of, I felt like that is too cliche, so you will see more twists. I had a harsh feeling that the word “loo” was not just from parts of Canada. So I guess I’ll put it under American terms such as “bathroom” so people can be familiar with that.
Oh shoot, I should have made it clear that the protagonist was only an attendant and doesn’t know about the rule of it being illegal for a pilot to leave the plane on autopilot for the whole trip. I guess I can give the audience clarity.
Unfortunately, I will have to keep some wonky wording because this story is based off of modern times and it’s just how people talk. We don’t exactly speak formally when we are in a conversation with someone we know or will be with. So I guess that stays in.
Yeah, thanks for the advice. I’m trying to adapt to this way of writing in this wiki, but yeah. I’ll be updating
Also, I’m challenging myself a bit with this because I’m not an expert on aviation and the mechanics of a plane nor the rules that people have to abide by, especially staff.
I found the story I’m basing this off of a while back and I thought it was quite riveting even if the story may just be a hoax. So I’ll incorporate some of that later.
I may need some help on the plot because I'm basing this off of the Disappearance of Malaysian Flight MH370 and I've learned the Phoenic alphabet for part of this story
This isn't even a quarter of what the actual pasta I had in mind was. So I still have time to accumulate a plot.