It’s been awhile. For the past several years of my life, I seem constantly to have been in transit. Airport security lines, last minute gate changes, blisters on my knees from spending five hours with them pressed against the seat in front of me. These are things I took for granted, along with lots of miles in my frequent flyer account and an occasional and much welcomed upgrade to first class.
But it’s been awhile.
When I simply couldn’t stand not seeing my sister for another minute, I found the best fare possible and booked the flight from Seattle to Atlanta. So, after a nine-month hiatus, I’m back in the air. Not much has changed, except my tolerance. I’ve become accustomed to moving my arms now and then, to getting a drink of water when I feel thirsty, to turning the heat up if it gets too cold or down if it gets too hot. I’ve been living the good life.
As I write this I’m suspended at 34,000 feet somewhere over a landscape sprinkled with snow. And, let me tell you, it ain’t pretty up here.
Obviously, by the time you read this, I may be back on the ground – or, if you’re quick on the draw, you may be reading this while I’m still in flight thanks to a free trial of Delta’s snazzy new airborn wifi. Either way, here are a few tips you might want to keep in mind if air travel figures in your holiday plans.
Tip #1: You can’t always believe the signs at the airport:
Some of the directional signs don’t mean what they say. In Seattle, for example, that sign by the Delta check-in desks telling you to turn right to reach the S Gates? It’s wrong. You can get to the S Gates all right, but only after you’ve gone all the way to the other end of the airport, through the security line that doesn’t have a separate line for MVP/Medallion folks, and dealt with some pretty attitudinal TSA guys over whether the eye shadow in your carry-on counts as a liquid (it’s a powder, ok?).
Tip #2: To travelers who think they scored by booking an Exit Row seat:
On Delta’s 757, row 19 left is immediately at the door through which they load the plane. Nothing in front of it, no bulkhead, no nothing. No place to shove your purse or briefcase under the seat in front of you. There isn’t one. Sitting in seat 19C is like riding in the front car on a roller coaster. Be warned.
Tip #3: To travelers boarding a Delta 757:
You know that row of seats on your right as you walk through the door? That’s row 19 and the people sitting in it have feet. And that 49 pound roll-aboard you’re dragging behind you? It hurts when it rolls over feet.
Tip #4: To travelers who carry backpacks:
If the combined linear depth of your belly and your backpack exceed the width of the aisle, please don’t turn sideways. I think the guy behind me just lost an eye.
Tip #5: To folks who really have to use the lavatory during flight:
If there are already five people in line, you’re probably just as well off waiting until three of them have finished before you queue up. There’s not room for all those people to stand in that space. Or you could just sit in somebody’s lap in row 19.
Tip #6: To the guy who walked his wife to the lavatory and handed her a plastic cup before she went in:
I really don’t want to know.
Tip #7: To men who use the lavatories on airplanes:
Please take care of all your clothing adjustments before you exit the privacy of the loo. You probably don’t realize that your, um, clothing adjustments are at eye level of people in the aisle seats as you return to your row. Please. Check it out before you return to public view.
Tip #8: To the guy up in first class who keeps standing up every 15 minutes to stretch:
Dude, there’s a pillow case stuck to the seat of your pants. I’d get up and discreetly knock it off for you, but the seat belt light is still on.
Tip #9: To everyone on board when the plane gets to the gate:
Just so you know, you can't get off the airplane until somebody opens the door. Sorry.
Tip #10: To everyone who’s ever boarded an airplane, or intends to:
A) Please don’t carry more than you can pick up and lift over your head. Please, just don’t. B) Please step into your row and let some people pass before you spend five minutes arranging your worldly goods in the overhead bin. C) All that time you spend blocking the aisles slows down the boarding process (but you knew that). What you may not know is that the flight crew and ground crew get nailed for a “late” if they can’t get you in your seat on time. If they get crabby, they’re due. You may be screwing up their performance reviews.
Tip #11: To the lady who spent a minute and a half trying to get the lavatory door open and finally gave up and went back to her seat:
You have to “Push.” There’s a sign on the door, right above that handle you kept pulling on. I tried to get your attention, but I wasn’t able to make you hear me over the roar of the engines. Maybe it’s a good thing you didn’t go in. You might not have gotten out.
And finally . . .
BONUS TIP: To the guy reading this over my shoulder while he waits in line for the lavatory:
Look for it online at www.thatsmystory-martha/blogspot.com. Enjoy!