Monday, August 9, 2010

Up in the Air

As I sat in the waiting area at my gate I took a good look around to observe my surroundings. After said quick glance I logged on to Facebook from my Blackberry and wrote “All the Crazies Congregate at the Airport.” It takes all kinds to travel, that’s for sure and to state the even more obvious, everybody’s going somewhere!

Here are a few things I took note of during my travels.

One thing I noticed right off the bat is how rude people are at the airport. I don’t know if this has more to do with the fact that they hate to travel, hate crowds, hate lines, hate where they’re going, hate the fact that their vacation is over etc…

The first act of rudeness I witnessed was in the security line. The gentlemen in front of me looked like a normal dude, not too many cares in the world. He loaded his stuff on the conveyor belt and proceeded to tip toe/skip through the metal detector. Not surprisingly, it set off the alarm, so he went back. Before the machine reset, he walked through again. This process was repeated several more times before the guard finally said, “Sir, you need to be patient and not skip through the machine.” He finally got the idea and made it through, but not without throwing in a little ‘tude’. Why someone would give the person who controls whether or not you get through security some good guff is beyond me.

Several minutes later the same guy was at the ticket counter looking irritated and shaking his head at the gate agent. Again, here is a person who controls what seat you sit in on the plane. You want to be rude? Fine, enjoy sitting in between twin brothers husky and chunky.

As the people all filed in to the waiting area, I noticed a family of 5 coming in. They looked unassuming enough until I realized that one of their pieces of luggage was actually their dog. “Oh boy” I thought. Look, I have a 2 year old and a 3 month old and while I’m sure nobody wants to be on the plane with them when they are flying, I would much rather have a crying baby that at least could maybe be soothed rather than a cooped up flea bag dog. Folks, if you’re gonna fly, leave the pets at home. They’re not your children and they can manage for a week without you. You pay your neighbor kid $100 to feed and walk the dog for the week and vuala, no barking carry on.

When I boarded the plane I got stopped for security screening. That was fine, I appreciate them doing their job, though I must say when they opened my suitcase I thought “alright, go ahead, but you gotta jam everything back in there when you’re done, don’t look at me!”

Finding one’s seat is always a joy, but even better than that is watching others find theirs. I like the people who put their carry on 10 rows behind where they’re actually sitting. It gives them two opportunities to swim upstream and makes life wonderful for the rest of us. Speaking of carry ons…remember when a carry on was a backpack? Purse? Computer? Ha, not anymore! Nowadays people (including myself) cram as much stuff as they possibly can into these mini suitcases. It makes for some good pre-flight entertainment watching people struggle to put their stuff in the overhead compartment.

Once you’re in the air, the fun really begins. You don’t really realize how not spacious your seating area isn’t until somebody leans their seat back into your personal bubble. From here you could pretty comfortably give them a head massage…if you’re into that sort of thing. Also, I’m not sure what people expect when they lean their seats back…a full recline? I’m sitting there watching these two bozos in front of me push and push and push their seats back. Listen fellas, pushing harder isn’t going to make your seat go back any further, just put your head back and enjoy your neck pain like the rest of us.

By far my most favorite part of flying is the fasten seat belt sign. When that thing flies off it’s as though someone has just proclaimed “gentlemen, start your engines!” Even better is when the fasten seatbelt light goes back on there’s a mad rush to the bathroom. “We’re experiencing some turbulence, please sit down.” Apparently to the average flyer, this translates to…”last chance to pee before we potentially meet our maker if this thing goes south.” Let’s be honest here, if the plane goes down, I’m not going to be all that worried about my bladder. In a free fall or crash, the ole bladder will take care of itself.

I also like how they tell you you’re getting in ahead of schedule. Here’s a statement that truly means nothing, because once you’re on the ground, you have to taxi to your gate, then stand up with everyone, wait for swim up stream guy, deplane, and then go get your bags. I would bet that nine times out of ten, it all evens out. Save your empty promises Mr. Flight Attendant.

Once you deplane, you head to the baggage claim...which is kind of like the island of misfit toys for grown ups. Flight after flight goes in and out of the airport and even when the airport is totally empty, there are still 10-15 bags on the conveyor belt. Where are these people? Was what they packed not important enough to pick up once they got there?

I’m finding that I like flying less and less. The people, the time, the experience, not a lot of fun, but hey, at least I get a free bag of 4 small pretzels to snack on!

1 comment:

  1. So, true; so true.

    Recently I flew United (I think) and the boarding was by zone, rather than row. They called my zone but since we all have a seat assignment I wasn't in any particular hurry and ended up near the back of the line (which was surrounded on both sides by passengers waiting to pounce as soon as their zone was called so they could be sure to find a place for their 'carry-on').

    As we were moving forward this man came up next to me and asked what zone they were boarding. I couldn't remember the exact number but had my boarding pass in my hand so held it out to show him the number on my pass. He also had his boarding pass in hand and I could see the zone was the same as mine. His response was "Great, thanks." - - and he proceeded to push his way past me and several other people to get further ahead in the line.

    Are you kidding?? I was so irritated and really glad I wasn't sitting near him on the flight.