Monday, November 17, 2008

What?

Of course, our flight was eventually called. It was at a different gate than previously announced…and all the original airline employees had finished their shift and bolted for the weekend…but did we care?

No! ‘Cause our plane had ARRIVED, which meant we would not be celebrating Thanksgiving in Terminal K! We were so over the waiting that we actually applauded the arrival of said flight…that’s how desperate we were to just go, already.

My one and only carry-on bag was dangerously overstuffed and had a serious tendency to tip over if pushed, pulled, moved or left untouched for even half a second. I toppled and teetered down the galley to our recently fueled (I assumed) and recently freshened (again, an ill-assumption) air-chariot.

Would you ever have guessed that it’s been almost two years since I’ve flown? How did so much time elapse??

As I launch myself up the final threshold and into the plane, the steward picks this exact moment to make an announcement:

“Welcome, ladies and gentlemen. We would like to take this opportunity to remind you that it is not acceptable decorum to verbally abuse, insult or make disparaging remarks to any of the flight attendants. Anyone displaying any verbal or physical aggression or inappropriateness will be escorted to the front of the cabin and will then be asked to depart the aircraft. Thank you for your cooperation.”

All eyes are on me…and a guy sitting in an aisle seat about halfway down mouths “What did you say?!” And I’m thinking “Oh, crap…they all think I’m some bitchy steward-abuser and I haven’t even had a drink yet…” so I flash them my brightest, mega-watt smile and announce “IT WASN’T ME…JUST SO YOU KNOW…”

I am not making this up…just so you know.

Once we’d tackled the herculean task of bench pressing my luggage into an overhead compartment (okay, so I didn’t do it myself…thanks to da guy in seat 9E) we settled in for The Reading of the Rules.

Funny.

I do not recall any Reading of the Rules on previous flights…but maybe it’s my memory going south.

It went like this:

  • No smoking.
  • No singing.
  • If you need to wait in line to use the restroom, do not stand closer than Aisle 4, or you will be asked to depart the aircraft.
  • If you’d like to purchase any food or beverages, you must use a credit card, as no cash is accepted. Your credit card will be charged a $9.00 surcharge for the privilege…nay, the honor, of consuming sustenance whilst cruising at 35,000 feet.
  • Turn off all electronic devices prior to takeoff. Failure to comply with this request will result in your being asked to depart the aircraft.
  • If you ring for the steward more than three consecutive times, you will be publically humiliated, called names such as “needy” and “pathetic” and then asked to depart the aircraft.
  • In the event of a loss of pressure, airspeed or altitude, you will be given permission to depart the aircraft…but only after all airline personnel have departed.

As I settled into my comfy non-reclining seat, I positioned my iPod headphones in place. As the engines roared to life, I closed my eyes and let Del Amitri’s “Roll to Me” wash over me. As always, I thought of Clinton Kelly and once again marveled at the unlimited amount of patience required to replicate this very experience a dozen or so times a month…and my respect for him tips up another notch. Business class or no business class…air travel can be a bitch.

When next I open my eyes, I see Tonia removing from her bag two bagels with cream cheese, 2 bottles of water, a banana and a Hershey bar…and I know we’re golden.

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