Anahola author says passengers must take control of friendly skies

Long before jets were intentionally steered into buildings, an Anahola resident, author and former flight attendant was advocating passengers take more active roles in onboard safety.

Responding to the success and follow-up questions associated with her 1992 effort “Jet Smart,” and the 1999 follow-up “Jet Smarter,” Diana Fairechild recently self-published the first of several new editions of air-travel information books, “Strategies for the Wise Passenger.”

The first volume deals with issues including turbulence, cardiac arrest, terrorism, tall travelers, even streaking (running around the plane with no clothes on, seen by some as the only way to ensure nobody has weapons).

Even with airborne-disease concerns, fear of flying exacerbated by the terrorist events of Sept. 11, 2001, the lines upon lines encountered even at Lihue Airport, and other issues, with a bit of advanced planning taking to the friendly skies can be a stress-free experience, she says.

Jet travel is still the fastest way to get from point A to point B, and is mandatory for getting away from island homes even if it’s just for the day, she said.

“Passengers need to participate in the safety of the flight,” said Fairechild, who logged 10 million miles in the air as a flight attendant.

Strategies include checking out fellow passengers and reporting suspicious folks to airline employees or other authorities, using early-arrival mandates as a chance to catch up on reading, meditate, or spend quality family time, ensuring that you have all you’ll need onboard, and other strategies.

Decide beforehand that you’re going to help out if anything goes wrong on the plane, she stressed.

“You’re going to be brave, and you’re going to help. If you’re traveling with this mindset, you’re going to have a successful flight,” she said.

“Nobody has to do anything, but you should want to, for the well-being of everybody on board.” Instead of adding to the problem, add to the solution, she said.

Today’s traveler is edgier than ever, and it doesn’t help that airlines are cutting back on service-related items including meals, she said.

“The old way isn’t happening anymore,” said Fairechild. That means passengers should pack water, snacks, blankets, pillows, magazines, books, and anything else they feel they’ll need in-flight.

Her “Strategies” series was prompted by questions readers asked her after reading her earlier books. The first “Strategies” book is available at Papaya’s Natural Food & Cafe in Waipouli’s Kauai Village, and at Borders Books Music & Cafe in Lihue.

Fairechild will sign books at Papaya’s tomorrow, Monday, June 9, at 11 a.m., and at Borders on Saturday, July 19, at 2 p.m. For more information, please see her Web site, http://www.flyana.com.

Business Editor Paul C. Curtis can be reached at mailto:pcurtis@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 224).

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