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Archive for December 13th, 2009

Notes from a Tired Traveler

Remember the days when flight attendants helped you while you were boarding the plane?  These days, the two in front tell you what aisle to walk down and that’s it.   The rest stand in the middle and back of the plane gossiping with each other, reading the newspaper, or talking on their cell phone.  If a passenger is having a hard time getting something into the overhead compartment, tough.  If a passenger is dawdling in the aisle backing up the whole line like a clogged drain, tough.  So what if the rest of us have to stand still for 10 minutes while Mr. Indecisive puts a bag up, then grabs something from it, then brings it down, then puts it up again.  I’ve seen a flight attendant holler at the line – What’s taking so long!?! – but does she move to help?  No.  Is there something new in airline liability insurance that forbids flight attendants from helping with bags? 

I don’t understand why anyone would pay more for a business class seat for a 30-minute flight.  If it’s part of whole series of flights, then yes.  But who needs a few inches of extra leg space for 30 minutes? 

Don’t you love it when you’re sitting at the gate and you hear the screaming kid start up already?  I’m not talking about babies who are going to cry.  I feel sorry for any parent with loud kids during long flights and I’m pretty tolerant of them.  I’ve even gone out of my way to reassure a mother who was scolded by another passenger for her loud kids.  Which was crap – the kids weren’t screaming or whining or crying.  I, and another passenger, told her the kids were fine during the flight.  Mostly, I’m talking about kids who throw tantrums without the parent saying boo to them.  Regardless of your opinion though – you know when you’re sitting in the terminal , whether you feel bad for, or mad at, the parents, you are thinking: “PLEASE let these kids be far far away from me on the flight.”  Lots of times, these kids board first.  Then it’s your turn to board.  You walk on the plane looking for your seat with one eye out for the bratty kids.  You pass them on the way to your seat and think: “Whew! Dodged that bullet.”  Last time I flew I sat at the gate across from a woman and her son – he must have been about 11 or 12.  He was talking back to her and running around and she kept telling him “You are NOT getting your game.”  So, he dug into her purse on his own and pulled out a little Gameboy and proceeded to play it.  Oh yeah.  Great kid.  Guess where they ended up?  Right behind me on the flight.  She had no idea how to discipline this kid.  She kept whining at him to be quiet during the flight.  Then she threatened him with: “You’re going to get in trouble and the police are going to get you when we get off the plane and take you away” and things of that nature.  Really?  That’s how you get your kid to behave? 

Speaking of kids, don’t you love it when they play around the luggage carousel while the automated terminal voice is warning everyone not to let their kids play on the luggage carousel?  Don’t you have a secret wish that a big piece of luggage will snag onto that kid’s pants and whisk him/her away and down the carousel?  Not to cause great injury, of course.  But maybe a little undignified drag by the rump will teach other parents not to let their kids play on the carousel and take up valuable carousel real estate when whole crowds of weary travelers are trying to make their way up to heft bags home.

Speaking of that valuable real estate, standing there trying to hold my tiny sliver of space next to an airport luggage carousel hearkens me back to the great “general admission” concert days of old.  No, I will not move.  Yes lady, you can walk right up to me and expect me to step back away from you but I won’t.  In fact, I’ll inch closer to your face until *you* step away from *me* when I am standing here first.  Yes, thank you, go hide behind your boyfriend.

No, I don’t feel particularly cranky right now.  I’m in a good mood and had a relatively uneventful flight.  Why do you ask? 

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