Air Travel

November 23rd, 2014, 10pm

It was 10.6°C with broken clouds. There was moderate breeze.

I don’t fly much. I found myself seething inside while sitting at Gate A8 in the Detroit airport listening to the machinations of an airline trying to squeeze every last passenger possible into their Airbus 320.

First, they begged for passengers who would check their carryon luggage. Free of course. At no charge it would go to your final destination. However, please take out any critical medications (just it case it doesn’t arrive with you.) It appears an Airbus does not have sufficient overhead luggage space for a full plane of passengers.

When flying Third or Forth class like me that’s worrisome . The early boarders may hog all the carryon space.

So, next, came the shaming. Please, do not ‘monopolize’ the overhead bin space by placing in the overhead bins, carryon luggage that might fit between your feet under the seat in front of you. The announcement implied you’d be doing your fellow passengers a service. Sometimes the cynic, I figured it was more a service for the airline. (I did put my infinitely malleable Duluth Pack bag under my seat. Like a lamb to the slaughter.)

Boarding began. There is the seeminging infinite peerage of airlines: first class, gold class, silver, tin (I think). Did I miss platinum? Then in economy: zones 1 … 2 … 3 …! The twenty-first century version of steerage. Even lacking rank, title, degree or distinction, I did get a seat way in the back of the plane.

Finally, third, we had the call for standby: those folks who would fill the last remaining seats and pack the plane to the brim.

I promised my traveling companion I’d not embarrass him with an outburst but I found the whole process annoying, degrading and disgusting. I wondered whose money was important here: the investors who want the biggest return each quarter or the customers who shelled out a few hundred bucks to purchase the ‘service’ of getting from Detroit to Minneapolis?

Certainly not the paying customers.

Hell! Maybe I just had too much beer in the Detroit airport at supper!

But now I might have to squeeze myself out of my seat and hope there’s a free spot to use one of two bathrooms to get rid of the beer.

I’d better pass on the beverage cart rolling towards me down the aisle.

Well, we’re starting what captain says will be a rough descent into Minneapolis and the airplane steward wants us to put away our electronic devices. (Does he know the therapy writing on it has provided?)

At least moving to get my iPad under the seat will ease the cramps caused by having all this stuff stowed at my feet.

And then there is my bladder …… I can put my laptop and case between my legs and squeeze.

Ah! I’ll put my empty beverage cup, dirty napkin and empty pretzel package in the seat-back pouch and not give it to the airline attendant.

Blessed passive aggression!

Shu, Craig, David Wade, Christine and 1 more said thanks.

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Ken Jackson

An avid outdoors man. Retired and retiring, living on the shore of Lake Superior

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