Monday, April 26, 2010

Notes From My Week Up In The Air

(For some reason this didn’t post on Friday – just fixed it now)


This week marks a milestone for me, I think. I have been sitting here on the airplane (what a surprise) thinking (another surprise) and I am pretty sure that this is the first time that I have flown every single day of the work week. By the time I step off the plane on Friday afternoon back in Newark it will have been eight flights through five airports. I will have been in & out of (in order) Newark, Orlando, Houston, Las Vegas, Newark, Houston, Lafayette, Houston and finally back to Newark. I don’t even think the Pilots or Flight Attendants Unions allow their people to fly as much or as often as I have this week. Too much time in the air always gives me too much time to think. As we all know, that is never a good proposition.


Now it could have been worse. Last year I flew so much that I qualified for Platinum Elite status. That means that this year, more often than not, I have been upgraded from Coach to First. This week was no different. Just as I had predicted, at 10am I received my sixth & final upgrade for the week. (Two of my flights are on commuter jets so I couldn’t get the upgrade but I did get the exit row seat) The seats in First are wider & more comfortable, the drinks are free (for those that do imbibe) and they do serve something more than peanuts, a bland mini-muffin or a little football sized sandwich. Just yesterday I was even given a warm white chocolate chip cookie and a glass of milk just before landing. But the fact of the matter is, up front or in the back, flying as much as I have this week stinks.


You know what else stinks ? The size of carry-on luggage and the dude in 1E. Excessive cologne or perfume on a plane is just wrong and inconsiderate. So is not bathing before you get on a plane so I guess in his case it might be a little of both but that is for another discussion at another time when we also discuss the need to keep your shoes on when you are on the plane but now I need to get back to the carry-on conundrum. Spirit Airlines recently announced that they would start to charge for, at an outrageous rate, overhead space on their planes. The rationale behind this thinking was that people would rather pay less to check their bags and that it would help speed up the boarding process thus cutting back on the number of delays caused by people trying to jam everything but the kitchen sink into the overhead. I don’t disagree completely but I do think that there is a simpler solution to this problem and it is already in place. Probably the least utilized piece of equipment in any airport is the carry-on sizing box. There once was a time when airlines actually made people check the size of their carry-on before they were let on the plane. I even remember a few airports having a sizing plate on the x-ray machine so if your bag was too big, it couldn’t get scanned and you had to check it. On my flight from Houston to Las Vegas the other morning I had two self entitled little old people push in front of me with their luggage. They each had two bags that when combined were bigger than they were. When I mentioned it to my gate agent as I checked in, her response was “They are in First.” SO WHAT ! So was I and you didn’t see me taking up a whole overhead compartment. A rule is a rule and should be applied to ALL passengers. When the self entitled little old man proceeded to recline his seat as far as it could go, I made sure to kick it every time I crossed my legs. I am proud to say that for a good 30 minutes I was a poster child for Restless Leg Syndrome and the seat was finally brought up a little . I also made sure that I gave his seat a hip check worthy of any NHL defensemen when I got up to use the bathroom.


I also got to watch a lot of movies & television while I was flying this past week. I got to see The Blind Side, 2012, What About The Morgans, Everybody’s Fine and The Princess & The Frog. The last movie was shown on the morning flight out of Las Vegas which I thought was quite humorous since we had all just spent time in Sin City. With the exception of The Blind Side, all of these movies were greatly improved by the fact that I didn’t listen to any of them. They were nothing more to me than the visual equivalent of white noise. I would go to asleep watching one of them and wake up watching another one. The one flight I had with Direct TV wasn’t much better in that it was a morning flight and Daytime TV is seriously lacking. I did learn that Andrea Mitchell is fine in a short segment but horrible as a one hour host of a rehashed news show and that the hostess of Food Wars on The Travel Channel is even worse. She was so bad that I am going to have to write about her once I remember her name.


So with that promise (or was it a threat) to write more in the near future floating out there up in the air, I will bring this latest cranky missive to an end. Now please return your seats & tray tables back to their upright & locked position. Fasten your seatbelts and get ready to land so we can get off this blog in an orderly fashion and not like cattle at a slaughterhouse.


That’s the view for now from Behind The Shades…..thanks for stopping by….swampy abides


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