Airline travel is not only not a picnic, it may well qualify for torture. Seats are 16-inches wide, but my seat is not. The loading process is so tedious, everyone rushes to stand by the gate so they don’t fall asleep before their group is called. First come the injured and soldiers and moms. OK, get that. Then comes first class. OK, they paid more. Then comes all the precious metal customers–plantinum, gold, silver, followed by gemstones: ruby, sapphire, emerald. Then one-world and preferred partners.
By this time there are 25 people left in the airport, with spider webs hanging off us. Then Group 1 gets to board.
The common ruck, we who dared to try for less than full-price seats, is allowed to board. All those articles you read about how to get a flight attendant to not cut you are lies. You can smile and be friendly with all your might, but if you are not a male in first class, you will get dismissed. Males in first class can lead a buffalo on a leash along with three bags and the flight attendant will stow that buffalo in a convenient overhead and feed and water it.
When I try to board with my carry-on, a purse and a book, I am told to “consolidate your baggage, or you can pay to have us check it to your final destination.”
The overheads are simple to understand. You march to your seat, and there is an overhead above it. Except the idiots who get on first toss their bags into the first overhead they see, and then swan back to their seats. I don’t get it. If you get on first, why not store your bags right over your seat? Isn’t that convenient? Why chuck it in someone else’s seat space? Where do you think their bags should go? Right, you don’t care. That’s the whole problem.
Twice in the last two flights I’ve been on, someone discovered the overheads are full and took a bag out to put their own bag in. They handed the original bag to the flight attendant, who gate checked it. The first time the passenger didn’t notice it till I pointed it out to her. I had to. Can you imagine not finding the bag you put right over your seat, where you left it? The second time, the rightful space user objected, and it came close to a fist fight.
It takes me a second or two to get up out of my middle or window seat and reach for my bag. It’s not unusual to have someone try to push past me. Today, I got punched in the kidney because I didn’t “move my ass” fast enough. Too much anger. Breathe, people.
My joy about this flight was short-lived. I had finally reached enough miles to get on early. But no, the airline changed their way of counting miles. Now what counts is how much you pay for your seat, and the “points” for discount-purchasers are cut in half. Just when I thought the carrot was mine, I got the stick.
We’re not called “road warriors” for nothing. I prefer “flight survivor,” though.
—Quinn McDonald is always glad to get off a flight in one piece, with her own suitcase.