Archives for posts with tag: flying

Now that you’ve finally jammed your 75-pound carry-on into the overhead bin and kept this flight’s other 132 passengers waiting in the aisle for 17 minutes while you were whacking that elderly lady in 14C in the face, please turn your attention to the front of the airplane for this safety briefing.

When the seat belt sign is on, you must fasten your seat belt. Otherwise we will use rope and glue to attach you directly to the seat and will not be able to guarantee that you will come unstuck after landing.

To fasten your seat belt, just in case you’ve never been in an automobile before and don’t know how to do it, take this piece here and stick it into this piece there. Wait for the click. Then pull the strap to tighten until you can barely breathe and you’ve left stretch marks on your hips.

We suggest you keep your seat belt fastened throughout the flight, as we might encounter rough air, which is the term we now use instead of turbulence, which is the term we used to use to indicate we’re about to plunge into the ocean.

There are several emergency exits on this aircraft. Please take a few moments now to locate them. If you find them all, you will receive 20 percent off your drink order on your next flight.

In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, a book of appropriate prayers will automatically drop down and appear in front of you. To begin rhythmically chanting, pull the prayers toward you, place them firmly over your nose and mouth and scream as loud as you can. The screams will be muffled and thus not alarm your seatmates.

If you are traveling with a child or someone who requires assistance, say your prayers first, and then apologize directly to the child for your refusal to ever get her a pet.

A life vest is located under your seat or between the armrests. Or maybe it’s in the bins, squashed by your 75-pound carry-on. When instructed to do so, open the plastic pouch and remove the vest. Slip it over your head. No, not the plastic pouch, you ninny. Pass the straps around your waist and adjust at the front.

If it still doesn’t fit, perhaps you’re not a size medium after all.

To inflate the vest, pull firmly on the red cord. If there is no red cord, pull firmly on anything you can find until something works. This would include your seatmate’s ears or the flight attendant’s bow tie.

Your seat bottom cushion also can be used as a flotation device, particularly since it’s not very good as a seat cushion, especially if you are seated in regular economy.

At this time, all your portable electronic devices — including your mobile phone, your laptop, your iPad, your Kindle, your Apple watch and your Tickle Me Elmo must be set to airplane mode until further notice.

Please remember that this is a non-smoking flight. If you smell smoke, therefore, it’s probably one of our engines.

You will find all other safety information in the card located in the seat pocket in front of you. It’s the one with the chewing gum stuck to it.


There is definitely something ominous about starting a journey in a place that’s called a terminal. It’s a reminder of the danger of airline travel and that soon you’ll somehow be 35,000 feet above the ground in a metal projectile, traveling at 450 miles per hour and jammed next to someone who has just started sneezing.

And that’s the good part of airline travel. The less good part is navigating the airport itself.

On a recent trip, I spent time in five different airports. That’s because it was the best place to find airplanes.

Given my druthers, though — and no one has given me druthers since they were banned by the FAA — I’d rather have spent my time with the sneezing guy.

Nevertheless, my airport time was instructive. This is what I learned:

When you enter the terminal, do not look at the arrivals and departures board. It will only encourage them.

The board will list your flight as being on time and if you keep looking, it will keep saying your flight is on time until you are already delayed two hours and it is almost Thursday and you have to be re-routed through Pittsburgh.

When the board does ultimately admit that your flight is delayed, it will first say it is delayed 15 minutes, although the flight was supposed to have taken off an hour and a half ago. Then it will say it is leaving at 4:20. Then 4:35. Then 5:10. Then it will say “boarding now,” just to scare the living daylights out of you and see how fast that wheelie can wheel.

In many areas of the terminal, long lines at the regular check-in counters have been replaced by long lines at new, self-check-in kiosks. You must pay careful attention to the prompts at the self-check-in kiosks or else they will change your boarding pass into Euros.

If you have not already printed out your boarding pass, the agent at the counter will do it for you. The airlines, of course, will charge you an additional $25 for this. If you want the ticket agent to smile, that will be $50.

The longest line at the airport will be the security line. Just when you think you have gotten to the front of the line, it will turn again to the right and then to the left and then to the right again and you will find, instead, that you are in line for the men’s room.

As you go through security, try to put everything that’s in your pockets into just one bin on the conveyor belt. This will make it easier for someone to steal all your stuff at the same time without having to double back.

Your gate, call it C27 or B16, it doesn’t matter, will be the last one in the last corridor in the last wing of the entire airport. You better hurry to get there — the departure board says your flight’s boarding now.

I have a lot of miles on me, and that’s not even taking into account how the knees are pretty much shot and the back regularly gets stiff after bowling.  Actually, it gets stiff before bowling, too. And it would get stiff during bowling, if I bowled.

What I mean is I have platinum miles on me, diamond miles, gold miles and even some rollover medallion qualification miles, although I’m not sure if that’s longer or shorter than a kilometer.

What I have, in fact, is a lot of frequent flier miles and recently I wanted to take them for a trip. I mean, what was the point of leaving them at home and asking a neighbor to check on them periodically while I’m gone?

So I logged into my frequent flier account.  As soon as I found out which airline it was and whether that airline had already merged with another airline and now was only flying the Korea to Kannapolis route.

And then I had to find my frequent flier number. And my user name. And my password. And the answer to the question, “What was the name of your favorite pet’s first-grade teacher’s car?”

That’s when I realized that frequent flier miles are not really designed for people who actually don’t fly very frequently.

I wanted to fly, not frequently but just once, to Boston. According to the frequent flier chart, a round-trip flight to Boston would require 65,000 miles, three qualifying medallions, two sacrificial offerings and a reference from my college adviser.

Then I looked at the even finer print. That was 65,000 peak miles, not standard miles nor saver miles nor miles to go before I sleep. And the flight had to fly between March 7 at 6:30 p.m. and April 14 at 2:15 a.m., on a Tuesday where the barometer was above 30.6, as long as I was willing to accept a seat next to a screaming baby.

I chose the baby, but, of course, I didn’t have a total of 65,000 miles; I only had 64,753 miles.

Not a problem, I thought. The airline, surely, would let me round up.

After the airline said it wouldn’t let me round up, I thought: not a problem. I could easily buy the extra miles since I was so close.

After the airline said I could easily buy the extra miles if I would easily pay an extra $25 per mile and commit to sitting with screaming twins, I thought: not a problem. I could easily transfer miles from my wife’s frequent flier account, on the same airline, to my account.

After the airline said I could easily transfer the miles from my wife’s frequent flier account, as long as I easily was willing to pay an extra $50 per mile for those miles and was willing to commit to triplets and forego my free bag of peanuts, I thought: not a problem.

I could easily stay home.

I’d like to fly from here to there.

Would you accept other airports within 50 miles of your preferred airport or would you just prefer to stick with airports where you actually will be able to find your car when you return?

Are these dates the actual dates you want to travel or are you flexible and willing to go in February of 2015 instead?

Will this be round-trip or one-way? Will it be non-stop or one-stop? Will it be stuck at Chicago’s O’Hare for most of your vacation even though you were heading to Philadelphia?

Do you want us to search by city, point of interest, region, airport or nutritional value?

Oops, the price of your flight has just gone up by $57.

Do you have a preferred airline? Or do you assume that all of them will most likely lose your luggage?

Do you have a frequent flyer card? Cards that you still have from Eastern Airlines, Piedmont Airlines, Pan American and Circuit City are not acceptable.

If you do have a current frequent flyer card, do you know the number or is that just the combination for your locker at the YMCA?

Do you want to add a hotel to your ticket? Do you want to add a rental car? Do you want to add a seat that’s not next to somebody who has a cold and no handkerchief?

Do you want an aisle or a window seat or, as usual, would you prefer to be wedged between two enormous sleeping people with crying babies?

Yikes, the price of your flight price just rose by $38.

Do you understand that the price of this flight does not include fees for security, food, luggage, the airline magazine or a pilot?

Do you know we no longer have airline magazines?

Please select the flight for your departure.

Are you surprised that the fare seems remarkably affordable? Have you noticed that this is the flight that leaves at 4:25 in the morning and goes by way of Manitoba?

Please note, as well, that the flight that is actually convenient and works with your schedule and goes to the right airport does not have any more seats left. We left that listing there on the screen just to show you how close you were and what you could have had if you had just booked three minutes earlier.

Do you have a small black rolling suitcase that looks identical to everyone else’s? If you do, that makes it harder for us to find after we send it to San Diego by mistake and the cost of your flight goes up another $41.

Please select a flight for your return. This is assuming you want to return or would just prefer to sit on the tarmac in your tiny seat with the air conditioning off until the price goes up again or you are able to unbend your knees.