I just came home from a trip to Orlando to do the theme park thing. Overall, the trip was pretty good (hard to believe coming from a cynic, eh?), but some of my experiences is what got me started on this blog—my first!
Maybe I’m old and the novelty’s just worn off, but flying ain’t fun! Mind you, I don’t travel all that much, but I really kind of dread commercial air these days. The whole experience just kind of leaves me feeling like, well, cattle! Yeah, I know flying is the safest mode of travel. What do you think they tell the cows on the way to the slaughterhouse? “Come on, Bessie! Ya know truckin’ never killed any cows…”
The fun begins with “express check-in.” Queue up, check your bags, get your boarding pass. Moo-ve on over to the snaking line (aren’t cattle afraid of snakes?) for the security check. Forgive me, but I think there’s only been ONE attempted shoe bomber. So why do the rest of us rule-followers have to take off our shoes to go through the bomb-sniffing machine and the metal detector? Was the shoe bomb metallic? Would it have showed up on the x-ray machine? Why are MY shoes suspect? Don’t even get me started on the whole liquids thing. Some are okay, some are not, some have to be in plastic bags, some don’t. What’s up with that? Hmmm. Maybe a plot to get us to buy expensive bottles of water from the airport vendors?
I’ve never flown in first class—always last class. Yeah, I said I’m not a frequent flyer, but I have enough miles for a free round-trip ticket (just not on the flights I needed this last time around…go figure!). I have long legs and used to ask for the exit row. Now they charge for the privilege of being responsible for getting everyone else of the plane in case of disaster. But, you can’t buy that upgrade online until 24-hours in advance of the flight. Who’s got time to log in and do that when you’ve still got all that packing to do? (Did I mention I’m also a procrastinator?) So, I cram myself into a last-class seat, wishing I had brought a snack because I’m not about to pay $2 for a baby can of Pringles ® or $5 for a day-old sandwich and trailmix. And listen to my MP3 player because the jacks in the armrest are silent on this 757 even though Delta sports a variety of music (and complimentary snacks) on its flights, gate-to-gate. I guess the airline I’m on, also fresh from bankruptcy, is so cheap they won’t even spin the hardrive for coach. Is there music in first class to go with their snack?
No complaints on the flights themselves to and from (surprisingly). They left more or less on time and arrived more or less when they were supposed to! Of course, they were full and there was some turbulence on the way down, but no major problems. Amazing for an airline that’s averaging less than 75% on time this year and canceled over a thousand flights in the last week alone. The arrival airports even knew we were coming and had gates ready for us. (Did you ever wonder why, sometimes, the plane lands and has to wait for a gate? Didn’t they know it had taken off an hour or 2 ago?)
About that parking lot shuttle guy who expected—actually demanded—a tip. That’s his job! Go work in a restaurant if you feel entitled to tips. I don’t mind tipping for exceptional service but there’s just not much to picking up people at the terminal and dropping them off by their cars. And, he was a little uppity anyway. Don’t spend that buck all in one place, buddy. How’s that for a bonus tip?