I remember the first time I flew. I was traveling to see my grandmother and was allowed to fly there –all-by-myself. I felt very worldly. As I recall I was provided with official airline wings which I clipped to my shirt, and I was even allowed to go up to the cockpit to meet the pilot. This was in the days before they feared 10 year olds wielding nail clippers. Flying seemed exotic and exciting. They gave you all the free Pepsi you wanted. Life was good.
I have flown a lot since that initial flight. I am no longer satisfied with a can of soda. I also note they no longer toss in a pair of wings. This is due to the fact that the airlines now seem committed to making the experience as miserable as possible for everyone involved.
This week I was traveling for my day job. It involved taking a float plane. Float planes are their own separate level of hell. Due to the size of float planes and their need to watch the overall weight of the aircraft, when you check in for the float plane they ask you how much you weigh.
This leaves you two options:
- Lie in an effort to save face and risk being the one responsible for bringing the entire plane down slamming into the ocean.
- Tell the truth to the attendant who is so thin she makes Nicole Richie look likes she’s wearing a fat suit. She’s so thin you have to fight the urge to sponsor her like a starving child in Africa.
This can be a difficult choice. I wonder if the airline staff automatically add 10lbs to everyone’s stated weight. I listened when other people checked-in and if they give a number I found suspect, I gave a very loud coughing fit to draw the check-in girl’s attention to this clear and flagrant lie.
The plane itself is small. By small, I mean it is like piling yourself and ten of your friends onto a sofa with wings. It looks like something a high school kid made in metal shop. Once up in the air it is so loud that your ears may bleed. You hardly notice because you will be spending the bulk of the trip hoping you don’t fall out of the sky.
My husband and I have the travel diaries of his grandparents. Travel was an entirely different experience in the 1940’s. They talk about getting dressed up for the flight. There is one entry where his grandmother talks about the near panic she had because she couldn’t find her white linen gloves. He wore a hat and tie. Now I consider myself lucky if I am not sitting next to someone who is still wearing their PJs from the night before.
I am clearly a first class girl trapped in a coach body.
Do you enjoy traveling?