Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Jet Blues

Hey, remember when the airlines use to brag about their comfort and amenities and friendliness?
"Fly the friendly skies"
"The proud bird"
"The only way to fly"
Yup. Them days are over.
Now it's: Get in, sit down and shut the hell up.

The last few times I took air travel I was pissed off at the conditions the airlines try to force their passengers to endure.
For example: my last trip in October, I was assigned a middle seat in a row of three. The seat was just big enough to fit my mid-sized frame.
My ass was only a 38" waist (now, it's a 34", post-surgery).I'm not a large dude, but I'm not a little dude either.

I filled up that seat, from arm rest to arm rest.
The seat was upholstered in some plastic vinyl material, and within five minutes I was all fidgety from butt sweat.

As the plane filled up, two large dudes came along and took the two seats on either side of me. These dudes were thick. Literally, they filled up their own rented space and were encroaching on mine.
From both sides.
The flight was booked solid, so there was no place else to go.
I was stuck.
(To their credit, my two neighbors seriously tried keep within their own assigned confines, but the impossible is still the impossible.)

Adding insult to indignity, they had the nerve to ask for Breast Cancer Research donations. And if you contributed enough, you got a Pink Ribbon pin! ("Well, if I was able to fit my hand into my pocket, I might toss you some cash. But right now, I'm just too angry to try. Besides, my space has no room left to fit a pin. Now, get away from me.)

So, we endured,like sardines, for five hours.
It was miserable, and I swore that would never fly again if given an option.
Not worth the disrespect.

Next time, if at all possible, I'll drive.
Sure, adds a few days to the vacation, but how could a longer vacation be a bad thing for somebody who enjoys road trippin' in the first place?
A bonus: I could pack whatever luggage and stuff that I want to without space/size/weight limitations.

The last few years, and especially more so just in the past two years, airline service has gotten worse than at any time in my memory. Though it hasn't been my experience, many flights are delayed on the tarmac for hours at a time.
These affected passengers are required, either by law or something similarly stupid, to stay in their seats and tough it out.

Here is an account of a recent episode.
New York City prosecutors have filed criminal charges against an air traveler who got fed up waiting on the tarmac at Kennedy Airport, and tried to open a jet door and get out. Authorities said 60-year-old Robert McDonald, of England, faces reckless endangerment charges for opening an emergency exit hatch as the plane waited out an hours-long delay at JFK.
(emphasis mine)

This makes no sense whatsoever.
Why can't the passengers be allowed to leave the plane, maybe escort them to a large secure holding area or something, for these hours.
Better still, why board the plane at all. The airline should know thirty minutes before take-off that they won't be taking off anytime soon.

This is not an isolated event. There have been similar reports of passengers attempting to flee captivity during hours long delays on the tarmac, and after what I've been through, I can say that I don't blame them.


Guitarman said...

Can't believe you didn't get any comments on this one. The last time I flew, same thing. and forget about getting dinner served.

Gino said...

me niether.

i guess this crew dont fly much.