October 11, 2012

On Air Travel

Tam made mention of a few gripes on air travel, which reminded me of my views I'd written up a while ago but never got around to posting.

First: Understand that you have no Constitutionally Protected Right to fly in a commercial plane. It's a service for which you pay, and that means that no, your rights are not being violated when you get bumped because the flight is too full. 

Second: The Gate Attendant and the Flight Attendant work hard for their meager paycheck, and they can make your life HELL ON EARTH. Calling them "Stupid bitch" will not get you on the next flight. Quite the contrary. However, being polite, saying Please and Thank You, and the occasional "Anything you can do to help would be appreciated, Ma'am" will. It also gets you first class seats, a comp hotel room, and maybe a voucher for a meal. 

Third: Speaking of meals, the flight from LAX to BOS is about 4.5 hours. That's about as far as you can fly in the lower 48. Miami to Seattle might be longer, I don't know. Anyway, you should be able to go 4.5 hours without eating (unless you've got really brittle diabetes.) Thus, there is no need to carry on an entire three course meal. If you need to bring food on the plane, please make it something mild, non-smelly, and unoffensive. Most passengers do not wish to smell your tuna melt sandwich and side of onion rings. Turkey sandwich works fine... hot wings don't. 

Four: I know you think you need your suitcase, your purse, your backpack, and your laptop, but you don't. If you are apologizing to every single person as you waddle down the aisle because your bags are hitting them in the shoulder, you are carrying TOO MUCH SHIT. Purse, a paperback book, and a small roller suitcase... MAX. And don't EVEN get pissed at me for taking overhead space for my briefcase because there's no room for your third suitcase. I checked my bags. You can too. That's what the bottom half of the plane is for. 

Five: It's an airplane, not a bar at happy hour. The drinks cost what the drinks cost, there's no "Buy one, get one free" special, and you ought to limit your intake to two or three. Getting blasted on the plane is a bad idea. You look like an ass. 

Six: When they say "Turn off your electronic devices", that means you. Yes, I know your iPoop/iPad/iPile/iPhone has an "airplane" mode, but turn it off. You are no more special than anyone else. Don't tell the flight attendant that this call is important. You should have scheduled better. 

Seven: Do you really want to know why I get to board the plane first? Because I flew over 100,000 miles last year. I gave United Airlines roughly $16,000 or so of my money. That's why. If you want to board first like me, it's easy: Spend 80% of your life away from home, sleep more nights in a hotel bed than your own, and fly often enough that you know Flight Attendants by first name. When they know what you prefer to drink as you take your seat, that's when you know you've hit the big time. 

Eight: Moving walkways in the airport... stand on the right, walk on the left. 

Nine: Ask before you recline your seat. Unless you're in First Class or the row just before the exit row. 

Ten: If your children are screaming and carrying on and misbehaving, make them stop. Telling me "I'm really sorry" for the twenty-first time as your kid kicks my chair doesn't help. Making your kid stop kicking my chair will. 


bobball said...

Great Post JB.

In my current life I get to travel a bit more than I did in the past. The past before that, I did a lot more traveling, but on the Govt. nickel (and in their planes...you carry your crap onto the C-130 and you carry it off...and it takes more like 6-8 hours to go coast to coast).

Anyhow, in my current increased travel life, I agree with you wholeheartedly (though the Mrs. and I have managed to travel to Europe and points in the US with all carry-on). Of course that means: 1 small roller case (for above) and one backpack/briefcase each for under the seat. Her purse goes in her backpack. Our laptop(s) are in there. If you can't make it in a bag and briefcase, check them.

Old NFO said...

Unless you're in Japan/Australia, then it's stand on the left and walk on the right... You've REALLY made the big time when they tell you to get your OWN damn coffee... :-(