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As you may be aware, Europe is a distant continent accessible only by steamer or expensive, unreliable plane travel. To reduce costs for my touring musical ensemble, I found what may be the cheapest flight from the middle-Atlantic states to Rome, Italy. Not surprisingly, this flight departed from one of least reliable travel marketplaces in these United States: Philadelphia International Airport.

I am from Philadelphia, and deem criticism of the City of Brotherly Love loathsome and unnatural. However, as the second hour of my aircraft’s wait on the tarmac at PHL concluded, I was forced to admit that my hometown gets flights off the ground about as well as it wins sports championships. My flight’s delay was made worse by the following factors:

1. Pirates of the Caribbean 3
Pirates of the Caribbean is a charming Disney theme ride/filmic showcase for visionary French actor Johnny Depp. Pirates of the Caribbean 2 was not very good, but, carried by Depp’s broad, tanned shoulders, the film avoided disaster. However, even with a cameo by Rolling Stone Glimmer Twin Keith Richards, Pirates of the Carribbean 3 is a terrible film, and need not be shown on any flight, foreign or domestic.

2. I Am Not Concerned About Air Conditioning
My plane’s delay was caused by an “auxiliary power failure,” a serious-sounding condition whose chief consequence is an “air-conditioning failure.” My physical and philosophical opposition to air conditioning is too complex to detail here. In sum, I ask: if a plane’s air conditioning does not work, why not just take off?

Consider: if you are an NPR devotee/American liberal, you are concerned about global warming. Perhaps you sit in your air-conditioned office in late October and complain to fellow liberal, over-air-conditioned co-workers about global warming as NPR drones in the background. “I just don’t understand it,” you might say your breath plumes white before you. “How can Midwestern fatbody moral majority conservatives not see the importance of global warming and work to stop it? By the way, can someone turn up the air conditioning? I think it’s 66 degrees in here! Anyone for Starbucks?”

3. Passenger Anti-Feminism
I fear that the following exchange, which I overheard on the PHL tarmac, is offensive:

Pilot (on PA system): “OK, folks—-please do not complain to the flight staff about the plane’s delay. There is nothing they can do about it.”

Unnamed passenger: “Steward, steward—-when are we getting out of here?”

Steward: “Sir, we will not leave for some time. You just have to be patient—-just like when you take your wife shopping.”

Despite the delay, my flight arrived safely in Rome at 10:40 a.m. on Oct. 9, 2007. Rome’s airport is named after the great-great-grandfather of air travel, visionary Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci. I was honored to be welcomed to Europe under his auspices.