Not So Friendly Skies

I’m old enough to remember when flying was a luxury. People dressed up, were kind to one another, and didn’t bring a bunch of crap on the plane. The airline served a drink and peanuts, or almonds for those with peanut allergies, and provided a nice, hot meal. The only real downside was that it was ok to smoke (whose bright idea was that?).
The first time I flew imageson a jet, my Dad had a small plane and we flew often, I was 8. My Mom was taking me to Disneyland several months after my Dad’s death. I got to go into the cockpit, was given a pair of wings, and spoke over the intercom to my Mom, I thought, but ends up I’d been all gushy with everyone on board. They fed us, gave us sodas and peanuts, and we got off the plane just moments after we landed. It was heaven.

Now the airlines pack us in like cattle being sent off to be slaughtered. We’re expected to pay for a box of snack crackers or whatever other 99 cent item they’ll sell to us for 8 dollars. And people bring in so much crap that it takes 10 times longer than it should to get everyone in his or her seat. Once the overhead bins are full enough to burst, they taxi out to toward the runway, and we wait in line to take off. Wheeee.

Then there’s the goddamn bag fee that’s responsible for everyone cramming everything they own into the overhead bins. Bag fees? Really? My bag isn’t taking up any more room than it did on that flight to Disneyland when I was 8, so why do I have to pay for it? I’m already paying too much for the damn flight and food if I want it. Oh, yes, and there are the fees for different seats. Want to sit near the front? OK, that’ll be $60. Want to be at the front of the line? Sure, that’ll be another $35.

Oh, and let’s not forget the joy of getting to the plane. I’m all for safety, but the process the TSA makes potential passengers go through is ridiculous. Shoes off, belts off, everything out of pockets, and the computer out of the bag. Today I’m in the airport in Columbus, Ohio, and the damn TSA took me aside because there was a water bottle in my backpack. First, I had no idea it was in there; second, it was a sealed 12oz water bottle. No hydration for you, lady. That water is dangerous. If you want something to drink, you have to buy a 99 cent bottle of water for $6 at one of the obnoxious shops that line the walkway.

Oh, the joys of flight.

Well, I’ll be boarding in an hour. Until then:

Elaine Dickinson: There’s no reason to become alarmed, and we hope you’ll enjoy the rest of your flight. By the way, is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane?

Rumack: Can you fly this plane, and land it?

Ted Striker: Surely you can’t be serious.

Rumack: I am serious… and don’t call me Shirley.

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