Monday, October 6, 2014

How to Fix Flying

Well, hey, everyone! I'm back!

I thought of you often in the past week, as I was struck by the eccentricities and foibles of the traveling public and wished I had you buckled in right beside me so we could discuss those eccentricities and foibles. Six flights, only one of them delayed, meant I had an unusually fortuitous trip to Minneapolis (where everyone talks like they're right out of my favorite television series), but airline travel is not without it's whaaaaa...? moments, including the following:

1. Has everyone lost their senses in the boarding of the airplane process? What is up with the boarding first of everyone with seats in the FRONT OF THE PLANE? I know, I know, they're all members of the Super Duper Platinum Zirconium club, but that doesn't mean they know how to put a carry-on into the overhead bin wheels first, and that does mean all of us who are in seat 26F (oh, yes, I was) are stacked up in the jetway like dominoes waiting to fall and hoping we land in our seats. This is not pleasant, American Airlines.

2. Of course, wrestling carry-on luggage appears to be optional these days. Each of my flights was full so "courtesy checked luggage" was offered, nay, was URGED on us. I didn't take advantage of this on the way to my fancy meeting, where I would have been embarrassed to meet people wearing yesterday's underwear and no make-up had the airline misplaced my bag. On the way home, though, when the gate agent pleaded for us to let them stow our luggage for free, I was all heck-yeah. Later I congratulated myself endlessly for not having to wrestle that bag in the airport during a six-hour wait after that delayed first leg meant I missed my connection.

3. Is there anything better than wireless access in an airport? I will answer that question. No. There is nothing better than wireless access in an airport. After I had been rebooked into the final flight of the day out of the hub city, instead of fretting about the hour at which I would be arriving and how much sleep I would not be getting before trustees arrived at Small College the next day, I pulled out my iPad and spent those six hours watching Inspector Barnaby solve Midsomer Murders whilst I knit an entire sock. It's a combination that's better than Prozac. Also, an overdose of Inspector Barnaby makes me use words such as "whilst."

4. Finally, you may be wondering why I illustrate this post with a can of Bloody Mary Mix. That's because my sole flying superstition is that I drink Bloody Mary Mix on flights. Always. No vodka, just the spicy tomato juice that says "Hey! You're on an airplane! But you're not going to crash!" better than anything else. The very day I got home I ran across an internet article that explained why BMM is so delicious on planes. It had to do with increased cabin pressure and salt sensitivity and blah blah blah and now I cannot find it, in spite of Google's best efforts. But take my word for it--science.

So to summarize: If I were queen of the airlines, I would check everyone's bags, board travelers in a civilized and rational manner, and hand each person a can of Bloody Mary Mix right there on the jetway, where Midsomer Murders would be playing on a continuous loop.

Who says flying can't be fun?

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