Here are some of the things I don’t like about flying. No, “my arms get tired” is not one of them. I’m talking about going somewhere on one of those rocket-powered silver cigars with wings. Some of the things I don’t like: Carry-on luggage. Overhead bins. TSA. Aircraft seats. Other passengers who can’t hold it for an hour. ( Didn’t your mother ever tell you to go before you left? ) Other passengers who want to talk to you when you’re obviously reading. Other passengers — especially first class passengers. The ones in the front rows sitting in the big recliners who look down on you as you wander by to the far recesses of the back of the plane. Male stewardesses, or, I guess, stewards, just wrong. I guess they call them all “flight attendants” now. Finally, the engine noise, the ear pressure, and the cost of a ticket. Those are the majority of the things I don’t like about flying, which is pretty much everything. Oh, and passengers, fat ones that have their butts in your face while they’re waiting to use the lavatory. And while we’re on butts, how about the guy two aisles up that has gas and the f..king kid that usually sits behind me and constantly kicks my seat-back throughout the flight.
Carry-on Luggage. I’m not talking about backpacks or briefcases or small bags, but carry-on “luggage,” That roller suitcase that is supposed to fit in the overhead bin, as long as not every passenger has one. It’s so much worse now with the bag fees. American Airlines, and the rest of you, you have created a nightmare. I watched a guy shove his bag into the “sizing” rack they have at the gate. The gizmo where you measure your carry-on luggage to make sure it will fit in the overhead compartment. He jammed it in there, stomped on it, literally, and six inches still stuck up over the top of the measuring rack. He almost broke the rack trying to get the “carry-on” back out. Clearly a bag that should be checked, but now they charge $50 for that and they do have a propensity to lose your luggage. What I learned afterward though, is if you bring that oversized carry-on suitcase to the gate, and they have to check it, they have no way of charging you the bag fee at the gate. Explains a lot.
Boarding. Why in the hell do they load airplanes from the front to the back? Wouldn’t it make more sense to fill it from the back forward, so all the obliviots trying to force carry-on luggage into the overhead bins wouldn’t stop up the whole process. I waited five minutes on my last flight standing in first class, watching them eat their muffins and sip their caffè lattes, while some idiot tried to shove his carry-on luggage into the overhead bin in row five. The smallest child playing with blocks could have determined that this square peg wasn’t going to fit, but he kept trying. Since I mentioned First Class…
First Class. I’ve flown first class before. You know what I did? Exactly what first class passengers do. I looked down my nose at everyone who walked by heading to the dark recesses of the plane, the steerage, behind the curtain. Me sitting there sipping my cocktail, waiting for all the third-class passengers to shove their carry-on luggage into the overhead bin. That overhead bin keeps coming up doesn’t it?
Lavatories. The minute the seat belt sign goes off the line forms at the lavatory. The fat guy in the window seat needs to get out. So you have to unbuckle your belt and get up and let the guy get up, and the passenger in the center seat, squeeze through the space between the seats and wobble down the aisle. Then the process repeats when he comes back. And then he has a diet Coke and the process starts again, and again. WTF.
Beverage Service. Speaking of drink service…get the hell rid of it. It’s not necessary and the airlines could save a ton of money, and frankly if you need a drink, buy one on the way on the plane You could have kiosks outside the gate where you could get beer or mixed drinks too. Cut my ticket price and get rid of the two ounces of Coke in a plastic cup the size of a bathroom Dixie Cup. It’s just stupid and it’s only purpose is to give stewardesses something to do. Flights in excess of 3 hours may need to have some sort of beverage service, but since everybody likes to get up, maybe put a vending machine in the back by the lavatory. They could get a drink while they’re standing in line.
Aircraft Seats. Aircraft seats and their inability, really, to recline is another reason I don’t like to fly. The aircraft seat has two positions: Too straight up-and-down, and normal sitting position. The normal sitting position in an airplane is when you “recline” the seat. The only good that does is to piss off the guy sitting behind you. Once, on an American Airlines flight, in a seat second from the back, after the seatbelt sign went off, I reclined my seat. “Oh HELL NO!” came the gruff voice behind me. “That ain’t going to f..king work.” And he literally shoved the seat back into it’s straight up-and-down position (what the flight attendant refers to as the “upright” position) without me even pushing in the little button. I’ve been fearful of reclining my seat in an aircraft ever since.
TSA (Thousands Standing Around). Well, it’s not really that we have security, but the absurd way in which it is accomplished. The shoe thing bothers the hell out of me. Can’t we come up with some way of determining if you have an explosive in your shoe or your underwear? And why in the hell do I have to take the computer out of the backpack or case? Don’t you have an X-ray machine? It takes me three bins worth of pocket items, backpack, shoes, belt, computer, and cell phone in order to walk through the scanner without the little buzz. And just to show how ineffective the whole strip-search process is, I had an electronic cigarette in my bag that James Bond could have easily carried as a single-shot weapon, a lighter, several extra batteries and liquid glycerine that could easily have been nitro-glycerine. Nobody said a word. No extra search. And who the hell is going to blow up a commuter plane from Reno to Dallas? I just don’t think the same level of search is necessary for every plane on every route.
Although, I do remember a recently fired USAir employee got on a Pacific Southwest Airlines flight in San Diego headed to San Francisco. In 1987, he was able to sneak a loaded weapon on the plane. He shot both pilots and the plane crashed in the ocean killing all 43 aboard. I was in the San Francisco airport at the time, and all the people who were waiting for the flight were herded to an inactive gate and waited there for news of the plane which had simply vanished from radar, they were told. It was a weird scene. I remember the monitors just had a black box for arrival time.
Okay, but today, pilots are armed and cockpit doors are locked. Still I’m all for security checks for weapons. I don’t want to die in an airplane crash because somebody’s pissed-off over being fired. Notice he didn’t shoot USAir pilots, he boarded another airline with the weapon.
So those are most of the things I don’t like about flying. I’d rather drive, even if it takes me a week to get there instead of a few hours. I’m going to totally use racial profiling should I give anybody a ride too.