Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ignore This If You Don't Need To Hear Complaints About Air Travel

Okay, that's pretty much everyone, including me, so I will be talking to myself. But that will be therapeutic (and probably why comics can't stop themselves from continuing to put airplane humor in their acts), so here goes:

The flights during our recent vacation were all equally execrable in their own way. They were all extremely cramped, with no leg room, no shoulder room, no ass room. It felt like we had been packed into a sardine can for convenient shipping. I kept wondering how 250+lb people manage to wedge their asses into those seats. I've flown next to beefy guys who hog the armrest (and invade my shoulder space), but have never been stuck next to someone who spilled over their seat in the bottom region. That must be really unfun.

Both United flights attempted to make us pay top dollar for cheese and crackers. I believe we declined en masse. I didn't see one sale. I wonder how long some of those "deli boxes" have been for sale. I bet some have logged more miles than the pilot.

Both Continental flights (two early morning ones) offered cereal, milk and a banana, which was nice, but difficult to eat in the traditional manner in those little plastic bowls with little plastic spoons. Only attempt to eat this if you do not care what you look like when bent over a tiny plastic bowl of desperation while being squished in an airplane seat, with the little tray of cattle steerage on your lap, trying to shovel wet, milky corn flakes into your mouth between bumps.

One flight allowed us to watch a movie - for free! - but the movie was longer than the flight, so we have no idea how it ended (actually, we can guess, since it was Yes Man, which was apparently made using the Movie-Tron 3000, an automatic script writing machine that hasn't seen an update to its software since the late 1980s. 

Okay, yes, I plan to watch it when it cycles down to TV, because I have a problem with not finishing things I've started.

One plane required us to pay for the movie, and again, no takers.  Again, revenue-boosting scheme foiled.

All flights required us to pay $15 for our checked baggage ($15 for the first, $25 for the second). This policy has had the effect of making the already crowded overhead carry-on bins into battle zones. We paid the $15 (actually, $15 x 2 people x 3 flights = $90) to avoid the overhead-bin real-estate rush, which was a good plan, because such breakdowns in common courtesy send Drew into the red zone, and he can think of nothing but revenge for days. 

Here's a bright spot. We took the train from the Baltimore airport into Union Station in DC! What we learned:

  • The commuter train doesn't technically allow luggage bigger than carry-ons.
  • The train ticket seller laughed at us for worrying about it.
  • Track 3 is across the tracks from the station.
  • The elevator up and over the tracks is broken. There is a sign on the OTHER side of the tracks, but not on the station side.
  • My bag weighed 49.5 pounds (.5 more and I would have had to pay a $125 overweight baggage fee for each flight!), so Drew carried both his and my bag up the stairs and back down to Track 3.
  • Yes, I could have packed lighter. I bought a big new bag, so I figured I might as well use all that room. Too much.
  • Union Station is impressively grand.
  • Drew takes lousy pictures of Union Station.
  • It takes a long time to catch a cab from Union Station when it rains.
  • Unless you take a gypsy cab and agree on a fare up front. If it's a little higher, hey, you just escaped a 30-minute line for a ride.
Dinner and a hotel bed feel pretty good after a planes, trains and automobiles trifecta.


cpt a said...

The train kicked the airplane's ass. We should check Amtrak the next time we need to travel in the US or Canada.

DT said...

hedera said...

We just got back from vacation; flew JetBlue both ways. Actual leg room, amazing. No food (we took our lunch) but plenty of free soda pop and water. And they only charge for the second bag ($20). The downside of JetBlue is the limited number of places you can go on them...