By Brian Williams, Anchor and managing editor
It always happens.
Anytime I'm forced to take a red-eye, the moment I board, the captain gets on the PA and says some variation of the following, "Folks, from the flight deck...good news...we've got some good tail winds tonight and we'll be four hours, ten minutes en route to New York tonight."
Everybody's different, but I equate nighttime with sleep. The fallacy of the red-eye is that you'll actually get restful sleep over four hours spent inside an aluminum tube, sitting next to a guy who has chosen your particular flight to catch up on some bill-paying under the intense glow of the reading lamp...which in the darkness of the cabin gives off the same amount of light as the sun. I'd much prefer the captain to tell us we're taking a special route over the polar cap, with our flaps partially extended to slow down our airspeed, allowing us all eight hours of restful sleep en route. I get how that would affect commerce, the environment and the like...but I dread spending the day after a red-eye...recovering from a red-eye. At least someone gave it an appropriate nickname.
The upside from last night's experience? I learned of a new use of the language. After arriving in the welcoming confines of Newark Airport, and after the wait for our luggage stretched into 40 minutes, I asked the Continental Airlines baggage supervisor what the hold-up was. She told me there had been a "problem downloading the bags." We're downloading bags now! I think that means tossing them from the cargo hold onto a cart, but I'm not sure.
To the broadcast: we just watched the Dow drop 300 points, there's a human cloning story in the news, Mitt Romney had quite an encounter with a reporter today, and our terrific series on gender, "The Truth About Boys and Girls," continues tonight. So we'll muster our energy, gather our forces and we'll have it all for you tonight -- we sure appreciate you joining us.