Friday, April 18, 2008


I’ve been flying since the mid-1970s, and I think I’m a pretty damned good flyer. When I was a kid, it was still a privilege and a special thing to get on a plane, a la Catch Me If You Can, in which, incidentally, I was an extra. My puss made it into a few scenes, but you can only “catch me” if you have a good eye or slow the DVD down 3x! The whole energy on the set was like 1963, when people were appreciative of their pilots and stewardesses ( I can of course be un-PC because it was, after all, 1963 and that's what we called them.) Now everyone is miserable, thinks that the airlines should cater to them, when we were the ones who wanted cheaper fares in the first place, thus causing the airlines to lose money and not serve us food and subsequently peanuts and then pretzels.

I remember when fares dropped drastically, and (I’m going to be a little unkind and judgmental now) white trash people could suddenly afford to visit their “kin” cross- country. We were then forced to be wedged in between them and their squawking chickens and dirty children screaming at the top of their lungs in the “three-fer” seats. Hey, what do you expect for a couple of hundred bucks? The good news—there was still legroom.

Now, they’ve taken away legroom…no, wait…they’ve given it back to us…no, no…they’ve taken it away again, AND we’re paying more to have our kneecaps smashed by the large and militant lesbian in the seat in front of us, who just can’t believe her seat won’t go back anymore. Oh, how I enjoy her insistence on jumping against it like she’s propelling herself up onto the flatbed of a pickup. No matter—it’s only six hours to Seattle. I’m strong, and since it will probably be raining, I don’t need to go out for a walk when I get there…or ever!

I mentioned in my last post that I traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico this week and I flew American Airlines. It's usually my airline of choice, because I,too, love to get the deals, and they always have some reasonable rates on I haven’t flown in a few months, so I had forgotten how irritating people can be when they fly. It’s like people who talk loud on their cell phones on the bus or the train, but it goes beyond just the technology thing. In the last decade, I’ve noticed that people can’t just board the plane and get to their seat. This has a lot to do with the fact that no one likes to check their bags anymore, since lost luggage stats are up, especially on American (I’ve had mine lost two times in the last year.). Flights are fuller and that means more of those “rolely-poley” suitcases, as I call them. These pose many potential problems such as the fact that not all planes have the same overhead compartment dimensions. From Albuquerque to Chicago there was a kid who held up the boarding process for fifteen minutes because his suitcase was crammed too high with stuff and it didn’t fit above…annoying! The flight from New York to anywhere, whether Chicago, Dallas or St. Louis is always a little chaotic, purely from the natural chaotic energy of New Yorkers. “Destination NYC,” as I often call it usually chaps my hide (at least for the first half hour, after which people can put on their headphones, play with their video games, sleep or read a book. I usually choose to sleep.)

The trip this week involved an entitled group of marketing executives who were racing with something (the Devil perhaps?), but for no reason. They were presenting a PowerPoint on some kind of natural food and were revising their notes inflight. That was after it took them almost twenty minutes to find a compartment for their roley-poleys, swing both of their coats into my face, bump me like six times and then finally take their seats. Why could all the other 148 passengers find their seats right away and they had to put on a show? My favorite moment of all was when a man, who boarded late, realized that all the bins in the tail end of the plane were full. He started trying to make his way forward through “annoying, bejeweled marketing chicks (ABMCs)” as I called them in my head, in order to check his bag gateside. As a pushy male associate of the “ABMCs” approached the back of the aircraft, the guy moving forward said in a “you dumbass” kind of way, “Well, if my bag didn’t fit, yours surely won’t.” I’m paraphrasing, but it rolled pretty much like that. Of course the alpha male associate looked bothered, but said nothing. I just smiled. I love being an observer.

As an aside, I’d like to share a couple of my flying pet peeves for anyone who cares:

1) The fact that people insist on talking on their cell phones well after the flight attendant has instructed passengers to turn all electronic devices off.
2) The old guy, who’s in good shape and obviously moneyed, who insists on standing in the aisle to stretch and stare at everyone else on the plane.
3) The man or woman who realizes that they have to pee about one hundred feet from the ground, so when they get up, they force the flight attendant to scream into the intercom breaking all of our eardrums, “Ladies and gentleman—We’re landing, so please take a seat! (Again, “You dumbass!)”
4) The fact that people unbuckle their seatbelts as soon as the captain says “Please keep your seatbelts fastened until we are parked at the gate.” It’s as if people enjoy defying. It’s their way of saying “Ha! I’m paying you to drive me around. I’ll do as I like!” A play-by-the-rules kind of guy, I apparently have no entitlement, as I always keep my seatbelt fastened.

No comments: