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Taking Off

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October 2, 2011 by wcobserver

I wish I could say I was better at air travel. But I really have to be in the right mood for all the effort… and especially… all the human interaction that it takes to fly. I’m not sure what that mood is… I’ll let you know when I discover it. Until then, I’ll just continue being annoyed, while counting the minutes until it’s over.

I don’t even like the hassle of buying the ticket… and that happens before even leaving home. There’s just too much research involved these days. With all the comparative sources that need researching, you’d think I was writing a 9th grade term paper. But if you don’t do the leg work, you inevitably end up paying double someone else for the same flight… and that just feels too much like getting picked last for dodge ball. All I know is… I liked it a whole lot better when buying a ticket involved a simple phone call to the airline.

I’m also not a big fan of having to get to the airport like 11 hours early. I long for the days when a person could glide into the airport 15 minutes before take-off and not raise any eyebrows. These days you practically have to get there the night before the trip or you’ll lose your seat. I’ve camped out for less time while buying front row tickets to U2.

Then there’s the baggage weigh-in, which requires me to break my own restraining order, by coming within 10 feet of a scale. I resent paying as much as my monthly electric bill just to take my baggage with me, and I resent TSA searching through my bags, which makes me feel like I can only pack my best underwear.
Then there’s the gate situation. I want to know which airlines take off from those first twenty gates that are never mine. If I knew the answer to that $64,000 question, I’d actually try to fly with them. If I were an airline, that’s what I would advertise. “We may not be better than the other airlines, and we may not be cheaper, but gosh darn it, we’re the closest… and that means you won’t have to walk 3 miles to get to us.”

Once you finally sit down in your uncomfortable assigned seat, invariably next to the one person that, judging by their cough, has tuberculosis… you then have to spend the next half an hour taking a course in emergency airplane safety. Oh sure, it’s not obligatory. But I always feel guilty if I don’t make eye contact with the flight attendant. I don’t want her to spit in my coke or anything.

And speaking of the cabin service, would it kill the flight attendants to carry around the snack and the drink at the same time? I mean, honestly, they’re handing out peanuts and pretzels, which are scientifically designed to make people thirsty. But once you’ve ripped into all 6 peanuts, you’re treated to 30 minutes of cotton-mouth while waiting for a beverage. Airline’s peanuts, by the way, are the only food that contain 1/3 of the suggested serving size. You actually have to ask for three bags just to come out even.

I’m not sure what the Wright Brothers were thinking. But I think they should’ve thought through some of these issues before they went around calling their invention a success.

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