Monday, September 27, 2010
Flying in 2010
Traveling by airplane in 2010 continues to be an adventure.
The corporate jet (Southwest Airlines) continues to be the best way to fly around the western United States since their schedules are so convenient. SWA has come a long way since the days of just lining up to be first on the plane. Boarding the aircraft has got easier and while it still resembles a flying bus terminal, the convenience cannot be overlooked.
I was walking behind an older gentleman yesterday on the way back from Reno when he stopped and let out a huge marlboro-cured cough...
We all held our breath and turned away as we walked through the invisable mucus-nicotine cloud. Then came the shake down. Security. I usually mess this part up but the past few trips I've managed to strip down and get through without a forgotten belt buckle or gum wrapper setting off the metal detector. As I was collecting my stuff, an elderly woman was being put through the ringer off to the side. I thought, "Is this really the best use of our security resources?" This poor old gal was being turned around, patted down and her carry-on was being searched. I say again, "When was the last time a plane was hijacked by anyone other than Muslim extremists?" Yeah, profile THOSE guys. I have no problem with that.
The boarding area is also pretty cool. You have a literal smorgasborg of people coming and going. Cowboys, hippies, bikers, biker chicks, businessmen, tourists, youth groups, female softball players and jokesters like Jake and I who can't keep our mouths shut and run commentary on the living theater going on all around us.
Some rules and observations about flying in 2010:
1. Respect the aisle and window seat people. They either paid for or were sharp enough to get an 'A' or 'B' boarding pass. Middle seat people need to keep their knees and elbows to themselves - no hoarding space over the imaginary line of demarkation. This can make for an unpleasant flight for window and aisle people.
2. Try not to cough your lungs up on the plane. Since we are all breathing the same air, I've found it impossible to hold my breath for the duration of any flight therefore please be kind to your fellow travelers inside the long aluminum tube. Same with sneezing - cover your mouth.
3. Not everyone has to stand up once the plane reaches the gate. We don't all leave at once. This leads to #4.
4. The people in row 11 get to exit the plane before the people in row 12. Hold your horses and allow an orderly exit.
5. Rolling of eyes is permitted when people try stuff their oversized carry-on into an overhead bin.
6. Dont' stop in the middle of the jetway to adjust your bag, purse or satchel....you will be overrun by the guy in aisle 12.
7. Why is it that my bags are always the last to appear on the carousel?
8. I like the way Southwest pilots make the turn and then hit the gas on takeoff. Other airline pilots seem to want to make the turn, come to a full stop, put their foot on the brakes and then gas it up.
9. The flight attendants on SWA are too cheerful.
10. Hour long flights always seem so much faster than driving but door to door, it's only about 1/2 has fast.
Had a great weekend in Reno and got to meet my granddaughter for the first time.
Can't buy that thrill.