Friday, January 12, 2007


Whooo-doggie has it been a long two days. I might have to get used to it though.

I've always been a recreational traveler, not a business one. There is clearly a different mindset for the latter. You're not to get bent out of shape over late flights, missed connections, cancelled flights and recreational travelers.

In a 30 hour period I was on four separate flights and what sights there were to see. As the old SNL commercial (albeit from the early 80s cast) said: "You feel like you've never left the ground....because we treat you like dirt". Honestly, the U.S. Scare staff weren't that bad. Nor were the TSA.

I did all the right things. I went out and bought.....loafers! I'm a wing-tip man, but I tire of tying and untying shoes at security check points. I packed my toiletries in a clear quart bag with liquids being in no more than 3oz containers. They didn't check one of them. The guy in front of me who even pulled them out for the TSA (not at their request) who said, they were bigger than the 3oz rule and to just make sure next time to comply. And handed everything back to the traveler. I guess rules are made to be broken! Oh - and that suspicious unattended package rule? "Whomever left a Sharper Image box at security - please come to claim it." Yes - the terrorists are no match for government workers!

Most flights were uneventful - though packed. None of the jets I was on had more than 50 seats to begin with. Timing was the issue with each flight. Delays in deicing. Delays in landing. Running to make connections. A very sweaty Blobby.

But it was the humans in their unnatural habitat that I loved watching.
The man who told me I was in his seat and I needed to find another one. Showing me his stub, his ticket was for a 7:15a flight. This was 3:40p. He said he changed flights. I said fine, but you also need to change tickets. He was more than miffed. Naturally the only available seat to put him was across the aisle from me.....this was after the lady was there realized the ticket she gave the gate agent was for her connecting flight so her seat assignment was wrong.

The express jets really hold nothing more than a laptop overhead. So where was the flight attendant who let the lady bring on a HUGE suitcase that would barely fit in the compartment UNDER the cabin? Naturally the chick was back in row 12 before realizing this with a line of people behind her so she was stuck...and so were they.

Or the Boomer Esiason look-alike who sat one up from me. Seriously, it was uncanny how much he looked like Boomer. A good enough look alike that I think with a little imagination Morty could have at least fulfilled his corn-eating fantasy. (Really - don't ask. And if you can figure it out you are one sick fuck!). Granted it was Boomer Look Alike with a cold - or a bad coke problem. But he kept my attention most of the flight as he worked his Suduko.

My two favorites I saved for last:

The mennonite/pennsylvania dutch family who sat in the two rows ahead of me. Clearly the first time on a plane. How do I know this? They were the only ones who actually craned their necks (the adults) to watch the the emergency instructions. Heck, no one else even looked up from their papers. They also didn't know how to use the seat belts. I mean, they can't be blamed for that - buggies don't have them, right? I always thought they were a more strict group of folks also. I don't know how many times as we waited to pull from the gate that the flight attendant told them they had to buckle up, etc. Yet as we are taxi-ing (how do you spell that?) down the runway, 2 of the 3 kids are up in the aisle!

Last leg of the flight was calm - until we were very close to landing. I look out the window to see Metro Hospital - which is about 8 miles from the airport. I'm thinking 'we're too high'. Then thought - we're too high for 30-40 miles out. I was sitting near the back of the plane so I had this view that kind of made me laugh. The sudden turbulence had us tilting back and forth from something that looked like it was out of Airplane....and we're still too high. We seemed to high as we passed lights ON the runway.

In my head I was thinking: "Flight 4304 now arriving at gate 32. gate 33. gate 34. gate 35." The guy next to me and across the aisle from me had been nice the entire flight, but no one was saying anything. I quelled my first thought of 'oh, this isn't going to end well' and finally said 'this is not going to be pretty!'.

My seat mate said, 'do you think the left or right wing will hit? The guy across the aisle laughed at both of us. His seat mate shot me a dirty dirty look. To the pilots credit, the actual landing was much smoother than any of us imagined.

I am not a scared flyer, but I do have dark thoughts on landing, which I've never had before. It just logically seems the place where things can go wrong and where the rougher parts of the flight seem to take place. Once again, my life is a Family Guy kind of world, where I have to flashback on other cultural reference. Also as we were landing, I was thinking about George Costanza saying to Keith Hernandez pondering why there hasn't been a baseball team that has all perished. Doing the math with 29 major league teams, each with 82 away games over a certain amount of years....well the odds are it's gotta happen to one of them!

1 comment:

Moby said...

When I first started flying it was fun. Now it is more of a chore.