Air Traffic Control deFreak

I discovered there is something which calms me down while flying. And from this point forward I will do everything in my power, including pay a little more, to fly with United Airlines.

Yesterday, Toby and I met Jason Zada and his wonderful wife, Liz out for brunch before leaving San Francisco. Jason is cofounder of EVB and is soon to be Toby’s boss. While we were eating eggs, laughing over laughing gas, the fear of the dentist, and flying, Liz mentioned something about how listening to channel 9 while in flight helped calm her down.

I must find out more about this channel 9.

Channel 9 broadcasts air-traffic control communication for everyone on board to hear. And it doesn’t only cover the flight you’re on, but every other flight sharing a similar path as well. And I’m putting it simply when I say, it was truly fascinating and oddly relaxing for me.

I knew when we were turning, dropping, lifting, landing. I knew that Northwest Flight 1049 was going through some serious turbulence and could just not seem to shake it. I knew that we would hit some in a hundred miles, but that it would only last a few minutes. And Alaska, flight 231 was leaving Denver’s airspace and picking up a city westward.

In-between moments of wiping the drool from my face after suffering from random head-bobs and sudden Xanax-induced, narcoleptic-blackouts, I was soothed by the voices of the men and women working in air-traffic control. And, dare I say, I actually enjoyed last night’s flight. Is this a specific feature for United? Or does every airline offer this option? I’m truly sold on this idea. How so very interesting and soothing.

I will buy Liz flowers for turning me onto this. That’s for sure.

I have to ready the final I prepared for a class I teach this afternoon. So I should hop to that and stop rambling. Pictures to come tomorrow. Along with hopefully good news about our future place of residence.


  1. That option is available on any commercial flight, except for maybe those small puddle jumper planes.


  2. Hmm… I’ve never had a “channel 9” experience with Air Canada other than the pilot announcing “if you look to your left, you will see the bay of fundy”. I will check it out though next week!!


  3. Who knew, Missy?! Wow. What an excellent little treat!


  4. That’s awesome! Glad your flight back was less emotionally exhausting for you, and that the trip went well.

    Read your post from the weekend – imagine the sexy, sexy legs you’ll have from walking up and down all those hills!

    And, uh.. speaking of sexy legs… Did you now that one of the best bike races in the US is in San Francisco? You lucky kids!


  5. I saw some pretty fit bikers that’s for sure. Yesterday we took a drive over the Golden Gate and there were bikes all over the place. It’s really a very friendly bike city. I like that. I really don’t have much negative to say about the place. It’s still all sinking in, but it wasn’t nasty or ugly. It was comfortable. The direct sunlight freaks me out a bit, actually. But I’ll buy shades.


  6. Oh yeah…you have to get used to the sun…it doesn’t rain much here in the summer. You get fog but almost no rain until maybe November.
    Since you will be living in Noe that means sun almost all of the time. Twin Peaks (that big hill to the west with the huge red tower) block the fog.


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