Air travel thoughts

Blogging from the airplane

You know what, I spend a lot of time on planes. So do several other people who I have gotten to know after flying each and every week on the same flights. Normally most of us who do this weekly end up in First Class together. This week however very few of us were upgraded as there are several professional golfers who are on their way to our home city and they all actually purchased 1st class tickets so we were out of upgrade luck.


Picking the proper seat location in steerage

You have to make sure when you book your flights that you at the very least pick a coach seat in which you could tolerate sitting. The lady next to me and myself actually both lucked out because we preemptively booked the bulkhead seating, but since neither of us got upgraded, we at least still have some sense of legroom. We were extra lucky because the middle bulkhead seats were not filled so we actually have a great deal of room. Several other traveling healthcare IT consultants who normally end up in the front of the plane with us are stuck in like row 20 and two of them are actually in the middle seats. I mean really? Why in the heck wouldn’t you of at the very least have booked yourself in a row or aisle in the bulkhead or the exit row?


So what if you don’t book your own flights

I book all of my own travel and am paid back later. At the end of the month things can get a little hairy as I do not have unlimited credit yet, but that will come with time. Some consultants work for employers with corporate travel companies who at the very least book their airline tickets for them and expect them to book the rest for themselves. I understand. Those corporate biatches may not put you in ideal seating, but they do put in your FF number so you can access the reservations and still check your seat and change it right after they book it. Am I the only constant traveler who has just about every travel app on earth and who obsesses constantly about where I am in the plane, what type of plane I am on, and how long my connections are? I can’t be the only one right? I mean why else do these apps exist?


Steerage

It’s funny how much of a travel snob I have become over time. I expect first class now. I like my meal, my cheesecake, and my hot towel. I like the individualized attention and getting to know the flight attendants (on my airline we typically have the same ones for a month and then they rotate out).

Watching inexperienced travelers both amuses me and enrages me at the same time. I mean did you really think your super huge duffle was going to fit in the practically non existent overhead on an Embrarer 145? Did you really think that if you shoved harder you could fit the square peg in the round hole? Did you forget to shower today? Why? Did you really think that you would get a seat in first class when you fly twice a year and I fly twice a week? Did you not realize that they didn’t allow bottles of water, knives, and snow globes through security? Did you really think you were intelligent in bringing all of those carry ons on a CRJ 200 when you only have 20 minutes to connect at ORD? Did you not hear the 20 announcements and reminders that you have a zone number and aren’t allowed to board until your zone is called? Seriously people! Seriously!


Yes. I have become a flight snob. Regardless of my seat, I am that guy hovering by the elite lane at exactly 30 minutes before my flight is due to depart. I used to always laugh at the guys in the suits who were trying to kill each other to be the first onto the plane. I used to marvel at the low zone numbers and wonder how you got a lower zone number and why on earth it was a benefit to have a lower zone number. I used to wonder why on this planet you would want to be the first person on an airplane. It’s a whole bunch more waiting and sitting in a cramped environment.

Of course I now realize that they battle one another to get on the plane so they can get the best overhead storage locations. Because those of us who travel every week understand and know how much it can suck to be in a bulkhead and not have any overhead space.


While we are on the topic of travel and airlines, I would just like to say that I do not understand business people who travel Southwest. My boss swears by Southwest and he has flown enough between San Diego and Oakland that he is always in the A boarding group or whatever they call it and he even gets a yearly companion pass for his wife. These are OK perks, but I’m sorry, after flying 4 flights a week for the last 15 weeks and almost a 100k miles in the last 9 months, I have to go on the record as saying I feel I have earned my status and my first class seat I am given most weeks for free. Why on Earth would you want to fly every week on an airline where you don’t even get to pick your seat let alone get a spiffy bigger seat with all kinds of perks?

Now keep in mind I have never flown Southwest so perhaps it is a cultural thing or they have really good service or something. If anyone knows please enlighten me.


How the other half lives

Don’t get me wrong…I completely understand what it took me to get here. I spent my time in steerage and I don’t get mad or miffed at things that can’t be controlled. I battled the masses and the smelly people and the crying babies. I don’t ever give any family people crap. I’ve been there. I’ve traveled with small children and know how crappy it can be and how embarrassing it can be when some jackass looks at you like you just took a poop in his Cheerios because he didn’t get upgraded and your kid is crying thusly preventing him from napping. I get it and I will even try to help.

I may be a flight snob but I at least understand the people in the back because not long ago I was one (and am still am one like right now and when I travel with the wife and kiddos). I hope I never ever ever get to the point where I give people looks for having a loud kid or a large family that’s hard to comletely control on an airplane.

I mean really. I have noise canceling Bose headphones (which are TOTALLY worth it by the way). If some jackass doesn’t like your loud kid then it’s his own fault for not being prepared.


Realization that there is a difference in travelers

I have realized that there is a distinct difference in air travelers and I break it down into these basic categories.

  • Complete and totally flight virgins/people who last flew in 1945
  • Causal infrequent travelers who at least understand the process
  • Causal infrequent fliers who completely understand the process
  • Business infrequent fliers who are total idiots
  • Business infrequent fliers who actually know the process
  • Business fliers (no status) who act like they fly a lot when really they don’t (a-hole)
  • Business fliers (status) who infrequently fly but have status b/c they go overseas (a-hole)
  • Business fliers (status) who know their shit
  • Business fliers who, like me, fly every week
  • Airline people going home

The two categories I marked as “a-hole” are the ones who piss me off something fierce because they act all high and mighty when in reality they have no clue about frequent flying. They may have some status from their 2 or 3 trips a year overseas but they nothing of weekly travel and how much it sucks and how fun it can be at time as well. They act all high and mightily like they are the airline God’s and that they and they alone should be up front. You know who I’m talking about. You can always spot them. They usually have grey hair, are in real suits, get their shoes shined at those little shoe shine things, have little backpacks with their initials monogrammed on them, and they are always moaning and groaning about anything and everything. They keep the little liquor bottle industry going strong, and usually have some business like newspaper opened so wide you can barely pass them in the aisle.

They aren’t the REAL frequent fliers. Those of us in the know realize that the REAL frequent fliers are those with the laptops glowing at all hours wearing business casual attire or cheaper suits that are obviously wrinkled from actual use, with the noise canceling headphones on who the flight attendants smile at and know on sight.


The moral of this really long winded rant about travel is to always remember that those people up front who actually look like real people just like the rest of humanity are up there not because they paid for it or because they feel they are entitled; rather, they are up there because they suffer on these planes twice a week, every week or every other week, and they therefore are entitled to be there.

That, and don’t be a travel ass. And for God’s sake, shower before flying!

Jaded

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