Friendly Skies

This past week I made a trip out to Southern California. I would like to share with you some of the observations I made on my journey. As you may know, each flight is unique unto itself….but there are a few things many have in common.
I arrived at the airport as instructed one hour ahead of departure. If I didn’t follow these instructions, the chances were very great that my seat would have been sold off to the highest bidder! In laymen’s terms, that’s called ‘”standby!” Once aboard the airplane, I saw that the seats had enough room so that each human being could feel that they were nicely tucked into a sardine can…..one thing to always consider before boarding a commercial airline these days is to check your weight, because if you have gained a few pounds since your last travel, with the size of the seats, it is highly possible that you may have to purchase an extra seat for your journey! The seating was three seats across…..you pray at this point that the person sitting on the aisle seat next to you isn’t the “passenger from hell,” who may practically expect you to hand over money in order to go to the bathroom! I was sitting in the middle seat….while the man who had the window seat casually mentioned to me, “If they could, they would sell seats on the wings!!!” Strangely, I was reminded of a Flintstone’s episode where Fred and Wilma won first class tickets to an island resort, and Barney and Betty went along third class, which was, you guessed it! Out on the wings!

The trip from New York to Los Angeles is approximately 5 hours and forty-five minutes. A long time for a group of people to be in close proximity to each other. Hopefully, you have ordered a vegetarian meal for your flight, otherwise, you are left with the famous “Rubber Chicken!” A meal that warms one’s heart (ha!)….. even the flight attendant’s are catching onto the joke. The lady serving me said, “Would you like some of our deeeelicious chicken?” halfway through the flight my obnoxious aisle passenger started mumbling to herself, and giving me glances that said, “Don’t even think about asking me to get up!” Through meditation, I was able to stop myself from going to the bathroom for the entire flight! This, boys and girls, is not something you should try at home:)

Once upon landing, I realized just about the entire plane had carryon luggage. These days no one wants to check luggage (including myself). It may be a good idea in the future for the airlines to fly another plane right behind us containing all the carryon baggage. There were people who stuffed their bags so far in on the overhead that they had a very hard time pulling them out. As always, there’s the mad dash for the exit door, where one could easily believe that a prize is given to the first passenger off the plane!

After a few days I completed my trip and headed for the Los Angeles airport, preparing myself for the same routine in reverse. This time I made sure to order a vegetarian meal, and an aisle seat. As the airplane pulled out of the terminal and started to taxi down towards takeoff, all of a sudden the plane grounded to a halt. The pilot announced that the airports in New York were closed indefinitely because of bad weather. I was thinking to myself, what does “indefinitely” mean? One hour, two hours? Or an entire day? My fellow passengers were looking at each other, wondering, at what point do people start to come unglued? But me? Never! I had an aisle seat, no rubber chicken, and a bag nicely tucked in the overhead…and, for my sweet-tooth, a small bag of chocolate snicker bars, which, I may say, were being eyeballed profusely. I made some new friends that flight:)

For your next trip, try to make the skies as friendly as possible….pack lightly, go veggie, bring cologne, gum, and some good reading material. As one passenger mentioned to me when the captain said we were being delayed indefinitely….”It sounds like they’re having a party in the cockpit!” One thing is for sure, the passengers were not on the guest list (ha!)

Happy Trails……

love, Jennifer Avalon
© 2001 Jennifer Avalon

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