Sunday, March 30, 2008

Brief Diatribe about Air Travel

Before too much time goes by and this becomes a random rant, a few reflections on my air travel last weekend:

Originally -- originally, she said, with a great sense of foreboding -- my flight (please notice that the word flight is singular here) was supposed to leave at 11:00 am. My mother has drilled into me from infancy the importance of arriving at the airport at least two hours before the plane leaves, so I was getting ready to climb into my taxi at 8:30 am. That's when I got the call. A dramatic re-enactment:

ME: (picks up phone)
ROBOT VOICE: Hello! This is American Airlines calling about a flight cancellation.
ME: What? Fuck!
ROBOT VOICE: Please press 1 to continue.
ME: Fuck! (Presses 1)
ROBOT VOICE: Your flight has been canceled! We have re-booked you on a flight departing from New York Kennedy at 2:30 pm arriving in Los Angeles California at 5:45 pm. And then on a flight departing Los Angeles California at 6:25 pm, arriving in San Francisco California at 7:45 pm. To accept this booking, please press 1.
ME: FUCK YOU!!!! (Presses 1)
ROBOT VOICE: Thank you for flying with American Airlines.

I mean, look, I appreciate the call. Showing up at the airport 5 hours early is no fun. But I firmly believe that bad news should be delivered by a real person. That way, at least you have someone to curse at.

So, my singular flight turned into flights, plural. Which sucked. But what sucked even more is when I got on my first flight and learned that crappy airline food now comes with a price tag. Really? Because flight prices seem higher than ever. And the comfort factor hasn't changed. So tell me, why am I paying for sustenance? Does $500 not earn me a rubbery sandwich? I ask you.

Random aside: When I was getting on the flight I noticed that Vanessa Hudgens, the tweeny-bopper star of Disney's High School Musical goldmine (who I only recognize because Us Weekly insists on covering her every move), was in 1st class. That was depressing, because I immediately knew that if the plane went down the headline would read VANESSA HUDGENS KILLED IN FIERY PLANE CRASH. That is the worst thing about having a celebrity on your flight (I really hope other people think about this, because if they don't I am really fucking morose).

Oh, and speaking of first class? The whole classist thing on planes is incredibly irritating, mostly because they seem to be trying as hard as they can to rub it in coach class's face. I mean, we walk through first class when we get in the plane. We see how much bigger and more comfortable their seats are. THEN, we are told not to use their bathrooms, because, presumably, we might taint them with our imitation perfume and unmanicured paws. THEN, over the intercom we hear "Meals during the flight will be lunch for those in first class, and beverages for economy, with food available for purchase". So they get to eat free. I guess a rubbery sandwich costs an extra $400 of diposable income. THEN (I really wish there was a way to capitalize THEN even more to suggest my increasing anger), as we start to descend into our destination airport, after having watched "Employee of the Month" on a washed-out, 4 inch screen, over the intercom the flight attendants ask that "those in first class unplug their personal entertainment devices". Those assholes! They get to watch a movie that doesn't suck! And THEN, the final insult, we walk out of the plane and see, in first class, stacks of magazines, rumpled down comforters, and champagne glasses. It's enough to make you want to KILL someone. If coach seats cost $40, okay then, but for hundreds of dollars, the ridiculous classism seems entirely unnecessary.

Then again, I've never flown first class. Something tells me I would like it.


  1. Yeah, our return flight from OR on Christmas Day was cancelled, and we were re-routed thru Vegas on the 26th instead on another airline, but with no guarantee that we'd be on the Vegas flight, so we had to collect our bags and then re-check in w/ 5 minutes to spare.
    Plus, if I hadn't checked online I would not have known the flight was cancelled until an hour before we were leaving. Imagine that phone call to my mom. "Um, hi, yeah we won't be home for xmas in 6 hrs like you thought... I'll see you in 2 days."
    No thank you.
    The whole world of air transportation needs a thorough overhaul.

    Oh, and children under 12 should be put in their own part of the plane... their own soundproof part of the plane.

  2. Interesting. I tend to not write the headline for the "fiery crash" of the plane on which I currently sit; regardless of who is on board. I just sit in my seat, arms crossed, rocking back-and-forth trying to convince myself that first class doesn't exist. And who the hell is Vanessa Hudgens? Is that the girl that Disney was pissed at for taking naked pictures of herself? If it is, then if the plane did go down, we would have blamed the crash on the ever powerful and controlling round black ears of the man behind the curtain.
    Oh, you better be careful about the government alphabet soup linking your diatribe and your aforementioned, Obama illuminated, skills of obfuscation.
    ...not that I'm paranoid or anything...


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