Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A few notes for travelers 

In Denver just now, going through security, I had to choose between three lines at the TSA checkpoint. The first contained an old woman in a wheelchair, the second had a bunch of seemingly uncontrolled little kids, and the third a man with aluminum crutches. I went with the crutches, but in retrospect the line with the kids moved faster. Both trumped the wheelchair. Obviously.

Who does not know that wearing a quarter ton of chains and other metal festoons is going to slow down the many people behind you in line? We know you love your necklaces and metal belt. Keep them in your bag, and put them on when you are on the other side.

Have you ever noticed that in western airports there are a fair number of middle-aged dudes with big stomachs and even bigger cowboy hats? And why do they refer to their luggage as "gear"?

Yes, you are a dirtbag if you board first and put your bag in a bin over a seat closer to the front of the plane than the one you have been assigned.

Why are the flight attendants of some airlines so much more officious than those of other airlines? United attendants are much more concerned that some electronic device might emit an impulse than the Continental crew, for example. I hope that the former become more like the latter after the integration, but I fear the reverse.

I am looking forward to getting home tonight after nine days on the road, and only wish that my flight were not delayed due to "air traffic control," whatever that means.

There will be drinking.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Apr 12, 10:07:00 PM:

It is not just the airline, it is in each crew. We recently flew to Spain on a 1/3 full flight. One crew said to my kids, hey each take a seat in an empty row, then another crew came around and said the opposite. Don't think I have to tell you who we listened to. mpw  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Apr 12, 11:37:00 PM:

The United Airline attendants are on average an longer tenured attendant than Continental. My cousin an Attendant for United told me this during a discussion about union rules and the merger. I think that because they are a more tenured and "senior" staff they are a bit less hip with all the techno-devices and therefore give you, a hip individual, a harder time.

DTG in NNJ.  

By Anonymous Scott in TX, at Tue Apr 12, 11:38:00 PM:

ATC is just your government at work. Efficiency takes a back seat to process. Any glitch in the weather or runway availability anywhere in the system upsets the process.

I had an epiphany recently at the Social Security office, after waiting 45 minutes to see a clerk. Waiting is good! If I didn't have to wait, it would be because there were that many more government employees (and their inevitable pensions) for me to support with my taxes.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Apr 13, 05:05:00 PM:

Mythbusters did a segment last year seeking to determine if wireless devices caused problems for airline navigation. They did. So, there's a reason why young and hip is in this instance also pretty effin stupid. Just sayin'  

By Anonymous Robert Arvanitis, at Thu Apr 14, 03:31:00 PM:

Overhead bins are the 21st century "tragedy of the commons."

However much an individual may eschew dirt-bag-hood, we have only social disapproval with which to counter the airlines' disregard for passengers and distraction with bigger issues like fuel and sleeping ATCs.

Not unlike the old Soviet joke. We pretend to pay a fare, and they pretend to care.  

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