Greetings from the friendly skies! I am currently flying through the clouds on American Airlines, and since I have nothing better to do, I figured I’d whip out the lap top and write a flight blog. I’m currently headed from NYC to Orlando, or as I like to call it, THE SEVENTH CIRCLE OF HELL ROUTE. Yes, this plane is chock full o’ kids — in the seats, in the aisles, and probably in the overhead compartments. It’s like I’m in an airborne rumpus room. It’s not that I hate kids; it’s just that I severely dislike being in their company. They’re like drunk people: rambunctious, loud, hard to control, and prone to inappropriate urination. And yet when kids do all those things it’s considered cute or “life.” Well, I suppose that’s fine, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.
Luckily, there haven’t been any pools of liquid accumulating near me, and most of the children are so excited about Disney that they’re hardly shedding a tear, but still, I’m going a little batty. There were balloons at the terminal, people. BALLOONS AT THE TERMINAL.
This is actually a particularly amusing flight for me because with me are my parents. Yes, it’s a family vacay — why else would I be heading to Florida? The plan is to meet my brother and his clan down in Orlando, but they’re on a different flight, which means I’ve got Mom and Dad to myself. I love my parents dearly, and in general they are pretty good flyers, but they do have certain… quirks.
My father, you see, is prone to sudden meltdowns of epic scales. He’s like one of those Hawaiian volcanoes that’s perpetually going off: generally benign and often fascinating, but rarely quiet. His first moment of fleeting rage came at the parking lot at JFK. Our first attempt at pulling into a spot was stymied by a sign saying “Compact Cars Only,” which as we all know no one heeds. But in this case, we really couldn’t fit; so Dad backed out and then slowly cruised over to another spot. Same problem. Option #3? Ditto. It was around then that he went from calm to Meat Loaf (fun fact: my dad LOVES Meat Loaf’s musical catalog) and exclaimed, “You are REALLY driving me nuts!” as if we had somehow snuck out of the car and had erected all the “Compact Car Only” signs while he wasn’t looking. Luckily, we found a spot moments later and order was restored.
Upon successfully parking, the three of us rolled our bags into the terminal and peacefully meandered into an elevator. As the doors closed, we saw a guy and his son running towards us, with the kid yelling “NOOOOO!!!!!” Alas, the doors closed on them, and I smirked happily as I was spared the company of one less kid on what would surely be a week of kids. And yet, even though the doors had closed fully, we had gone nowhere. Ten seconds later, the doors opened again, and there was that DAMN KID and his dad. UGH. Okay, whatever. Get on.
The two walked in, and then suddenly the THIRTY OTHER MEMBERS OF THEIR FAMILY WHO HAD BEEN STEALTHILY HIDING OUT OF SIGHT piled in too. And they all had rollerboards. AND THEY ALL WALKED SLOWLY. My heart sank as I realized this would be my Orlando experience. And if you thought it took a while for them to get in the elevator, you should have seen them get out. I don’t think they understood the finer subtleties of LIFTING YOUR ROLLERBOARD OVER MINOR OBSTACLES. I think half of them got snagged on the elevator gap.
Well, after the elevator fiasco, I checked in my family at a kiosk (I had checked us in a full twenty-four hours ago but had left the printed passes at home. Amateur move). It was a seamless process, and since I have a glamourous Gold status on American, I managed to get us all Priority Access AND free baggage check. Theoretically.
The baggage check was indeed free, but the Priority Access bag drop? Not so much. For whatever reason, that line was closed, which meant we had to wait with the general public. This was unacceptable. How was I supposed to maintain my haughty air of elitism? Plus, being stuck with the hoi polloi meant I had to listen to Colleen behind me explain that she had no boarding pass because “the machine wouldn’t work.” Oh really, Colleen? How the hell did the rest of us get ours? By printing them at home? ARGH!!! I wish. When the American Airlines worker told her to speak to someone at the check in line, Colleen got all belligerent, again reiterating that the machine hadn’t worked. COLLEEN, SHUT UP AND GO TO THE PROPER LINE. Thankfully, after waiting ten minutes (certainly not a Priority Access experience), we could drop off our bags and be out of earshot of Colleen and her whining (see, I only whine here on the Internet).
Once the bags were dropped off, we then headed to security, which DID in fact have a Priority Access line. The only problem was this: all the dumb people in front of us. Here’s the way it’s laid out at JFK. There are a whole series of metal detectors in a row — maybe ten or so all side by side. The Priority Access line feeds into the leftmost side of the metal detector area, but once you pass the TSA guy who checks your ID, you can go to any nearby metal detector. This never occurred to all the people in line ahead of us; so they all just filed behind the closest machine, causing a total backlog. And did I mention the gentle mix of elderly people and foreigners (and elderly foreigners)? It sounds so awful to say “foreigners,” but all I mean by that is that they simply didn’t seem to speak English and appeared justifiably confused by what was going on (the old people, however, were NOT justifiably confused. Just because you’re old doesn’t mean you can’t read signs). Point is that the line was backlogged, and we were all stuck behind inefficient and slow moving travelers.
I, of course, would not stand for this. Once I had been cleared by the TSA guy and was perhaps only a centimeter beyond the ropes, I tapped the gentleman in front of me and said, “Excuse me.” He, of course, didn’t hear me because he was in a fog; so I repeated myself louder and more huffy (which isn’t really THAT huffy). He moved an inch, and I basically just shoved my way past him, which was my subtle yet triumphant way of saying, “Hey buddy, look at me go to the MUCH SHORTER LINE while you stand there like a lemming.” My parents and several others then followed suit (I felt like such a trailblazer), but that initial guy remained in his line, even despite watching all of us literally zip through security. There’s nothing better than choosing some dude in one security line and then mentally racing him through the machine and winning. Losing, however, is the worst. I’m happy to report I won hands down. I was like the Usain Bolt of security going-through-ing.
My only real hindrance was after I had gone through the metal detector, the people in front of me decided to pull out all their belongings from the tray right at the MOUTH of the conveyor belt. Friendly advice: when your tray comes through, roll it to the end so that the rest of us can get our stuff too. These people did not do this, but that’s okay: I have a fun remedy for those situations. As soon as my trays emerge about six inches from the machine, I play dumb and pull them forward, inevitably colliding with the dumb people in front of me. If I don’t like the people, I say nothing and act as if “Yes, you should be moving down the line because if you don’t I will push ALL OF OUR TRAYS.” If they seem nice but clueless, I say “Oh, I’m sorry!” as if it were a mistake. Either way, everyone always hops into actions and rolls down the line.
I suppose I could always ask politely too, but that is entirely less fun. Passive-aggression FTW!
Well, once we were through security, my parents and I had about ten minutes to grab a bite to eat. I rolled my way over to McDonald’s with plenty of time to spare, but thanks to the inefficient ordering practices of Dominic (his real name) and the general sloth-like speed of Shuanna (her real name), the process took about fifteen minutes. No joke. By the time I returned with the food, the plane was boarding. No problem though: Priority Access to the rescue! My parents and I joyfully skipped the epic line and walked past the two pillars of balloons (ugh) and down the designated Priority Access lane where a random family of six was just STANDING there, waiting for their group number to be called.
“Excuse me, this is Priority Access,” I grumbled. To her credit, the mom quickly ushered her kids out of the way and gave us a big smile, and I instantly felt like a jerk, but seriously, she should take her family — as lovely as they may be — out of the DAMN PRIORITY ACCESS LINE.
Anyway, the three of us boarded, and huzzah! We had bulkhead / Emergency Exit seats! Our aisle was right there as you walked in. How utterly convenient! Now we could sit and eat! OR COULD WE? Because of the size of the plane entrance, we had to stand to the side while every single other person on the plane boarded (if we had sat, we would have been in everyone’s way). And so the joys of Priority Access were completely and utterly nullified as we wound up being the very last people allowed to sit down. Karma for my passive-aggressive ways? Perhaps.
Well, we finally did get to sit, and now all is well. I’ve got leg room, peace of mind, and a full stomach. The only problem is that I’m seated right behind the bathroom, and thanks to the excessively high number of kids on this flight, they all need to pee every two seconds. Even worse, kids — LIKE DRUNK PEOPLE — have no spatial awareness, which means that every time they come galloping up the aisle, they invariably bump into my shoulders. I should wear spikes.
We took off about half an hour ago. The flight attendants have been lovely. My dad is currently napping, and in his yellow polo shirt and black slacks, he looks VERY dad-like. My mom seems to be enjoying an episode of Top Chef… oh wait… she’s just fallen asleep. Earlier, I had what has become a daily tradition: explaining something about Facebook to my Dad. The conversation usually begins with my dad asking, “Ben, why is it that with Facebook _____” and ends with my mom saying, “Why does everyone need to share everything? It’s too much.” Today’s topic: why do people post their flight schedules? It’s actually a pretty good question. I had no great answer for him. He then followed it up with a more amusing query: “Why is it that people can update everyone about anything, and no one cares, but if I call every two minutes with my updates, everyone yells at me?” I informed him that if we’re not in the mood to hear updates, we don’t have to go on Facebook, but a phone call on the other hand is disruptive. Plus, my dad doesn’t always realize that his updates (which usually are along the lines of “Okay, I’m two minutes away” and then “Okay, I’m one minute away” and then “Okay, I’m here”) aren’t as useful as perhaps some other more efficient alerts. I’m not expecting a change in behavior anytime soon though.
A child just shrieked. IN FIRST CLASS, no less. Awful.
My mom is now reading The New York Times, which means there’s now a 50% greater chance she’ll ask me at lunch, “Have you heard of this new DiCaprio film?” My mom refers to actors by their last names only, which I always find amusing, ie. “I didn’t care for Affleck, but DiCaprio was very good.” And yes, for some reason my mom is always seems to be talking about Ben Affleck and Leonardo DiCaprio. Hey, at least she’s not saying “Nick Cage.” Seriously, people. Stop saying that. You’re not FRIENDS WITH HIM.
There are several Make-A-Wish families on board today. And yet no Ina Garten. Coincidence? I THINK NOT.
I’m so screwed. My new sunglasses are too big for my case, which means I’ve had to wear them on my head all flight. This means that I will suffer from Phantom Sunglasses Effect for THE REST OF THE DAY. fml.
Well, I have nothing better to do; so I’ll share a fun fact about my sunglasses. I got them for $3.40 at Forever 21 (or is it XXI?). Then one of the nose pads fell off (who would have thought ?!?!). I had to bring the sunglasses to an eyewear place to get the nose pad replaced, which cost $5.00 (a bit of a rip off, but I suppose it involved labor). And so now I’ve spent more on nose pads than on the actuall sunglasses. And at $8.40, I’m afraid this is turning into a little bit of a money pit.
My dad, who has arisen in all his yellow polo glory, just alerted me that of all the coupons in our little Disney coupon pack, only the miniature golf looked interesting. The rest “looked like crap.” I agreed. This is why we’re related.
Wait, we’re already landing? That was fast. THANK GOD.
Currently listening to “Aston Martin Music,” an MP3 that I acquired from IndianJones. And in typical IndianJones fashion, it’s low quality and sounds like it’s under water. THANKS, IJ.
Whoa: I just had a random moment of sentimentality. Despite my extreme dislike for being around kids (except for those related to me or belonging to friends, natch), I totally respect how totally awesome it must be for all these little tykes to go to Disneyworld. I remember when my parents took me in first grade, and I spent the entire night prior bouncing off the walls with excitement. Good for them. Whoa, what is happening to me? Altitude sickness perhaps. Is there enough oxygen in here?
Okay, a mom standing in front of me is holding a really cute kid, and he keeps smiling at me. It’s nice. See? I have a heart. BUT DON’T EXPECT MUCH MORE THAN THIS FROM ME.
30 Rock is playing. It’s an episode with Jan Hooks. We need to see more of her. Thank you Tina Fey et. al for bringing her back.
A kid is wailing behind me. ALL PREVIOUS EMPATHY FOR CHILDREN IS NOW GONE.
I’d like to note that I’m flying on one of the shabbiest planes of all time. Everything looks like it’s falling apart. The “No Smoking / Buckle Your Seatbelt” sign is only half attached, and a business class seat appears to have a giant GASH in it, exposing bright yellow foam inside. This is like the sort of plane you buy on Craigslist. And you know when you show up to get it, the neighborhood is kind of sketchy, and you’re like “Uhh, maybe I should have just bought a new plane instead.” But then the guy selling it to you is so nice, you feel bad about making snap judgments about the neighborhood, and so you just buy the plane anyway because it’s cheap and you made the trek out there anyway, so why not just get it, right?
Well, time to pack up. I will most certainly be behind on my TV coverage this week, but I’ll try my best to keep up. Also, I will do my best to post adventures from sunny Orlando. My friend Meeshie will be joining me on Thursday; so expect some interesting photos…