As American Airlines canceled more than 1,000 flights this week to inspect wiring on its jets, the company made good on its pledge to disrupt passengers' schedules as little as possible by contracting with owners of single-engine planes and crop-dusters to pick up the slack.
A spokesman said that the substitute fleet of thousands will carry fewer people at a time, however, more planes will be in the air to deliver passengers to their destinations "within a week or two of their original arrival dates, hopefully."
The spokesman said that the public shouldn't worry when the skies become dark from so many more planes in the air. Sunlight is over-rated, he said.
"We know the airways are already congested, but smaller planes have more maneuverability and shouldn't hit one another, unless, of course, two pilots play 'chicken,' then we've got a problem," said AA official Ronald Tuffts. "But -- and I can't emphasize this enough -- it'll be a small problem, given the size of the planes involved."
One AA vice-president said that passengers would get more one-on-one attention on the smaller planes, something, he regrets, that the jumbo jets lack, no matter what their ad campaigns say.
"But if you're one of those lunatics who obsesses about legroom, in-flight food, restrooms and safety, well, maybe you should look into another form of transportation," Tuffts said. "It seems there won't be any pleasing the likes of you under any circumstances."
Tuffts said the planes will fly closer to the ground, making sight-seeing better and crash landings less traumatic, since the aircraft will not plummet from the sky from 32,000 feet or more, the height at which bigger body planes typically cruise, and trapping passengers in their personal hell for what seems like an eternity of screaming, imagining their fate, and/or wishing they'd gotten rid of their porn stash.
"We're bringing back tree-top flying," an AA source said. "At long last, when you leave a loved one at the airport, you'll be able to see the tears rolling down their cheeks for a good long while. These are true Hallmark moments."
AA said it anticipated a pilot shortfall with the additional flights and hired eager Saudi Arabian, Iranian and Iraqis to cope with the situation. Tuffts said that some of those pilots possessed merely flight-simulator experience from Minnesota and Florida training facilities, but that "should be adequate for smaller planes on shorter routes."
If AA incurs any pilot problems, Tuffts said the carrier would "reluctantly resort" to using teen-age video gamers who have logged at least 100 hours of joy-stick experience.
"We expect some backups and flier complaints, but that's nothing new," an AA insider said. "We've turned a deaf ear to that shit many moons ago."