‘THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

We traveled a lot in 2016 — China, Qatar, Edinburgh, all across the US — and we barely made it home in time for the holidays. Let our own Austin Tichenor tell you what happened…

‘Twas a night before Christmas, with such snow and rain
Not a creature was stirring, including my plane.
My carry-on was stowed in the overhead with care
In hopes this last-minute flight would still get me there,

But with all of the lightning and thunder and showers
We sat on that runway for hours and hours.
What should have been only a two-hour flight
Was becoming a journey that might take all night.

It didn’t start well. First, my Uber was late
Then the airport was mobbed, which wasn’t so great
And they gave me a middle seat, which was really a drag
And charged forty-five dollars to check in my bag!

And then at security—so much emotion!
They unwrapped my presents! Made me throw out my lotion!
And then when it looked like I’d just about make it—
The T S A groped me and laughed at me naked.

I boarded last but that wasn’t the worst
I walked past the snobs who were sitting in First
And sat through the safety shpiel, which is always a bore—
Is there anyone who hasn’t fastened a seat belt before?!

They charged for a blanket, charged for a pillow
Charged for a headset, and a seat in the exit row
And just when it looked like things couldn’t get more black
The jackass in front of me leaned all the way back.

So: They ran out of food, they would not let us fly
They would not take us back, and would not tell us why!
It really looked like we would never get going—
Oh, and that’s when the toilets began overflowing.

But out on the runway there arose such a clatter
I sprang from my seat to see what was the matter!
Across my companion I reached like a flash
Said, “get outa my way,” and threw up the sash–

And what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a crazed flight attendant holding peanuts—and beer!
He’d high-jacked the food truck so lively and quick
I knew in a moment he’d arrived in the nick

Of time. He pounded quite hard on the emergency door;
He forced his way in, and he got on the blower.
He said, “People! You’re the victims, you’re not to blame
But I’ll tell you who is!” And he called them by name:

“On Delta! United! American, too!
On Southwest! Lufthansa! Aloha! JetBlue!
On Qantas! On Virgin! Alaska! Cathay!
SunCountry! ExpressJet! On British Airways!

On Frontier! On Spirit! On New Zealand Air!
To all of you airlines we hereby declare
Whether we fly frequently, or just now and then—
WE ARE NEVER FLYING WITH YOU EVER AGAIN!”

And before the sky marshal could tazer him down
He pulled the emergency slide and slid to the ground.
As he did he knocked drinks and snacks off the shelf
And I cheered when he did it in spite of myself.

We now could take off, with that nut off the plane;
We soon would be home and never see him again.
But I heard him exclaim as they dragged him away in the night
“Merry Christmas to all, they just cancelled your flight!”

— from The Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged)
by Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor

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