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15-Minute Brake Stand - November 15, 2020

There came the inevitable flight for work during this COVID-19 time. The flight out was so empty that my concerns about contracting Coronavirus were gone. But I felt very guilty of my carbon footprint for such an empty flight.

On the way back, while waiting to depart, the pilot explained that an alternate flight path was filed to avoid turbulent weather. But, after leaving the gate, air traffic control rejected that plan, rendering our plane overweight from the additional fuel required to take the 20-minute-longer route around the turbulent weather and, since turbulence was expected, there would be no beverage service on this flight. The pilot continued, jokingly I thought, that he’ll just have to sit on the tarmac and burn fuel unless air traffic control changed their mind. Seconds later, the engines revved up.

We passengers all sat disappointingly delayed, though seemingly complacent, as the pilot held the brakes and burned fuel. I was not complacent but downright disgusted at the waste. Was this really the best procedure that the FAA could come up with?

The flight wasn’t so turbulent after all but, close to our destination, we, patient and thirsty passengers, were stuck in a holding pattern for a few rounds until finally landing one hour late. I considered driving home at exactly 55 mph to make up for the carbon footprint of the airline industry but instead sped home faster than usual to make up for the lost time.

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