The Horror of Airline Travel in 2009

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You grab a cab to the airport, leaving the house two hours and 15 minutes before your flight. You get stuck in unexpected bumper-to-bumper traffic that makes you wonder if all your planning was in vain. Miraculously, you get there.

You have to check in quickly, but because they've slashed the staff so drastically, there are only two clerks working hundreds of passengers. With some gentle pushing, shoving, and whining, you make it to the front.

The line for security is even longer. When you finally get to the conveyor belt, you take off your shoes and belt and unload your money, credit cards, and keys. You feel naked. You are naked. You go through the detector, then franctically try to reclaim all your stuff before someone else does. By now you've shown your tickets and Passport about 80 times. Oh, yeah, where did those go?

But wait! They found a bottle of water in your bag! You are clearly Bin Laden! After some confiscating and chiding, they nobly let you through, and you run to the gate like a lunatic.

On the plane, you're seated next to a blind person with a gigantic seeing eye dog who spends the whole trip sitting and heavy breathing at your feet. Charming.

You sit on the tarmac for an hour before being finally given the go-ahead to take off. You're getting to know the dog a little too well.

In the air, there's no food, but the flight attendant generously hands you a bottle of water. Ironic, no?

The pilot says it'll be a smooth flight. It isn't. At one point, he turns on the seat belt, saying it'll get really bumpy. That's the only time it's smooth. Do these pilots know anything?

You're finally about to descend for landing, but you're made to circle (in the dark), hitting an endless succession of speed bumps that are upsetting you and the dog. Good thing they didn't give you any food or you'd surely be spewing.

You start landing, only because if you don't, the fuel will run out.

You hit the runway, vowing to never do this again. But you have to, to get back!

By the way, this has all happened to me--but mercifully not all on the same flight.

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