(This is one of the stories I heard while flying at Northwest Airlines.)
Apparently a Northwest jet showed up at Frankfurt Airport one day, a “bit low” on fuel – for whatever reason. It happens. Upon initial contact with Frankfurt Approach the conversation went something like, “Frankfurt Approach, Northwest 168 is with you at 3,000 feet. Be advised Sir, we are running a bit low on fuel and would like to get in as soon as possible.” We usually took this tact upon initial contact vs. declaring an ’emergency’ to avoid the paperwork.
“Roger,” Frankfurt acknowledged, “maintain 3,000, anticipate holding.”
A few minutes later Northwest 168 contacted Frankfurt with, “Frankfurt Approach, Northwest 168 – Sir, we are getting kinda tight on fuel now, and need approach clearance as soon as possible.”
The controller replied with, “Northwest 168, you vill land at Frankfurt when I say you vill land, und not before.”
Finally with their fuel state nowreally getting low, the Captain of Northwest 168 grabbed the mic and said, “Look Fritz, this is Northwest 168 and we are out of gas. We need to land, and we need to land NOW!” At that point they received their approach clearance landed without further incident.
Upon arrival at the gate the crew noticed tow “suits” standing on the jet bridge, wearing their spiffy ‘Inspector Clouseau’ trench coats. “Oh shit,” the captain thought, “I really stepped in it now…”
After the passengers had all deplaned, the two suits came into the cockpit. Without being prompted, the captain launched into an apology. “Hey guys, I’m really sorry about getting a bit short with the controller on approach, but we were really running out of gas…” he offered.
“Oh,” replied one of the suits, “ve don’t care about that; vot ve vant to know ist, how did you know his name vas Fritz?”