wow, how fun could flying possibly be? Part 1

We are a drivin‘ kinda family. Mostly, because Darling is um…uh…well, the man is a proud tightwad. The cost of flying a family of 5 anywhere makes his eyes do this freaky bugging out thing. But we love to travel (we have short memories, so we forget just how painful it is with small children). So, basically, we drive everywhere. We actually get a little antsy after a few months without a major road trip. We DROVE to Disney World, for heaven’s sake. You can catch up on that little adventure here. However, a few months ago, Darling had a conference in Boston and he, being the wonderful guy that he is, got his mom to watch the kids for a few days (I’m sure it felt like a lot more than that to her 🙂 and I flew out to join him for the weekend! Woot! So fun.

I was totally looking forward to flying WITHOUT children. Darling kept complaining about how long of a flight it was and I could barely contain myself from leaping into a dance of joy (I think it was giving the children a complex that mom was so excited to be LEAVING!). Gosh, all that alone time on the plane? Just me, a book, and someone to bring me snacks? Seriously?? Woot! I was already planning how I was NOT going to make eye contact with my seatmates, thus avoiding any conversation on the 4 hour flight.

So in the next blog or so, I am going to detail some of the fun, fun things that are unique to flying. Bring on those great travel stories and share them with me in the comments!

Fun, fun flying, Part 1

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed a decline in courtesy? I am not talking about fellow passengers (though I could…maybe later). I am speaking of the trained PROFESSIONALS who serve on planes. I am typing with subterfuge here as I am actually on the plane as I write this and I don’t want coffee accidentally dumped in my lap. This flight, curiously, the crew seems fairly courteous. Just shy of friendly. This is not the norm. Usually, flight attendants seem to be cranky, power-mongery people who’s chance to gossip in the galley with a co-worker is interrupted by your need of a snack, pillow or blankey (that you have to pay for). They shout “sir!” ma’am!” a lot. As in, “Ma’am, you need to return to your seat, the captain has the seat belt sign on” or “Sir, you are going to have to move that bag–it won’t fit there (much huffing and irritation as they move the offending bag of the obviously brain-damaged passenger).

What gives with that? Since when did the flight attendants gain all the power on a plane? (Yes, I recognize that they could have to save my life in the event of an emergency, but I would be okay with liking them BEFORE that.) I don’t even want to ask for a water from them. Even with their increased role in security, you’d think they would operate under the assumption that most of us are NOT bad guys.

I once had a flight attendant refuse to serve me coffee on a plane because I was holding a 3 month-old Lady Bug and she was worried I would spill it on her. Um. Thanks for the concern? But I manage to drink hot beverages daily and NOT spill them on anyone. Even if we suddenly hit turbulence, this isn’t McDonald’s and the coffee isn’t that hot. Really. She said it wasn’t an actual airline rule, just her rule, as she sweetly stood there waiting for me to put Lady B in her seat.

Speaking of power mongering and security, what is up with the TSA agents these days? Did they go through re-training or something? They are, like, pleasant and stuff. With a sense of humor. Trust me when I tell you that this came in very handy when I left my i.d. on the counter at home. Yep. Rule of travel #1: don’t move stuff from it’s normal place. I had taken it out of my wallet so that it would be handy, but somehow FORGOT to pick it up off the counter. So, there I was, freakishly searching through my bag at the ticket counter trying to find it. I had no other picture i.d. with me. I assumed my trip was going to end right there at the check-in counter. Amazingly, they let me fly. I didn’t know they would do that. Actually, as nice as it worked out for me, I’m not sure they SHOULD let people do that. But maybe you don’t worry too much about a legal i.d. if you have nefarious plans.

The TSA folks had me search through my wallet to find things with my name on it. The saving grace was my Sam’s Club card with my picture on it and my ability to recite my address off my checkbook (which I almost didn’t take with me). I did get specially screened (which wasn’t all that special, trust me). Flying to Boston, they had the puffer machine thingy–a semi-enclosed booth that blew startlingly loud air jets at me. Coming home, I got the old-fashioned pat-down. As I was putting all my identifying documents away, my wallet fell open and some cash fell out. The TSA guy says, “Oh, you don’t owe us anything for the service.” 🙂 It was funny.

Interestingly, at the Denver airport, they have advertising on the bottom of the security trays. Funnily, it is for the shoe website, zappos, so while you are standing here in your naky feet, touching the germy floor, you can dream about shoes…

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