Welcome to Big Old Goofy World . . . a place where I can share my thoughts, hopes, and dreams about this rock that we live on and call home.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Fly the Friendly Skies

I cringe at what the future brings . . . in a few days we have our return flight back to Montana after visiting the daughter and son-in-law in Alabama.  If it is anything like the experiience we had on the way down . . . well, I cringe.  They tell folks to "fly the friendly skies", but I wonder . . . 

After this recent trip I really wonder what the airlines mean when they say "fly the friendly skies".  To say the least it was an interesting adventure.  Here are a few of my thoughts about "flying the friendly skies".

The standard procedure at most airports is that folks need to arrive at least two hours prior to their flight.  The purpose of this is to check-in, check baggage, and get through the security system.  Our recent flight was to leave at 6:00AM, which means that we needed to be at the airport by 4:00AM.  Being a good person I had the wife and I at the airport by 3:45AM.  By 3:55AM we had checked in, checked our baggage, and waltzed through security.  Guess what time the flight crew showed up for the 6:00AM flight--5:55AM!  Guess who over slept? It sure wasn't the people waiting for their flight!  

Now I understand that these are "professionals" who are highly trained, but to oversleep!  Makes one a little leery about the flight ahead. . . but the gate attendant reassured us that they would rush onto the plane and get us to Minneapolis on time . . . probably hungover and blurry eyed.  But they were right!  In fact, there must have been one heck of a tailwind as we ended up arriving twenty minutes ahead of schedule.  No one in Minneapolis were ready for us . . . no gate . . . no friendly greeting . . . not even a moose!

My idea was to sleep on the flight to Minneapolis .  . . which makes sense since I was up at 2:00AM. Take advantage of the time in the plane and sleep.  It was a great plan except for the fact that I was  in the aisle seat.  I think that most planes were designed twenty to thirty years ago when people used to be slimmer than they are now.  Living in the age of fast food I have discovered that folks are a whole lot wider than they used to be.  I have even noticed it in churches.  The church I serve used to seat about two hunderd people, but today it seats about a hunded and fifty.  The church hasn't shrunk but the people have gotten bigger . . . the same applies to airplanes.  With this new size I was bumped every time someone walked up and down the aisle.  It is hard to sleep when your on a plane full of tiny bladders.

Outside of the delay of deplaning later than we arrived in Minneapolis, we still had about two hours to kill in the "land of a thousand lakes".  Two hours!  Plenty of time for the wife to do a little shopping.  Now I must admit that if I had to get stuck shopping in an airport, Minneapolis is the one to do that.  Thankfully we got out of there without having to spend a whole bunch of money!

Boarding the flight for Atlanta from Minneapolis was an adventure.  I figured that it would be a full flight as Atlanta is a major airport from which people link up with other flights.  because of that I also figured that boarding might take awhile.  I was thankful that we had already printed our tickets before hand and were assured of a seat . . . we load the plane when they called our seating zone--Zine 3.  Being good, upstanding people from Montana the wife and I patiently waited for the gate attendant to call our seating zone--Zone 3.  We sat as we watched what seemed to be thousands of people boarding the plane . . . and we waited  . . and we waited.  Turns out there was not a seating Zone 3!  The gate attendant got a big laugh at that one as we were practically the last ones on the plane.

It took nearly thirty minutes to board the flight to Atlanta.  It was not so much the number of people, but the luggage that people were smuggling on the plane to avoid the $25.00 baggage fee.  I am amazed at what people attempt to board the plane with . . . even more amazed at what they get away with.  I saw just about everything shoved into the overhead bins--even the kitchen sink.  It amazes me how people can shove a trunk into a bin made for a bread box.  

On the flight to Atlanta I noticed a new phenomena . . . the bleach blonde flight attendants.  The wife did too.  Now I have no problem with bleach blonde individuals--male or female, but I do have a problem when those bleach blonde attendants are at least ten years older than I am!  The flight attendants and their hair did not go with one another.  And, each time they went up and down the aisle they bumped me with their walkers!  

Another of the joys of flying is catching the connecting flights.  Due to the bin frenzy of stuffing over-sized luggage into bins we started our flight from Minneapolis nearly fifteen minutes late.  We only had fifty minutes to catch our flight from Atlanta to Dothan, Alabama once we got to Atlanta. Though I am not a math major, I noticed that we only had about thirty minutes to catch our flight once we got to Atlanta.  In typical  connecting flights our last plane was located clean on the other side of urban Atlanta!    A rush through the airport, a quick tram ride to Timbucktoo, and we made it to our gate with about ten minutes to spare . . . at least we thought we did.  We ended up waiting another twenty minutes before the plane was ready to board--yep, they were running late too.  But, hey, that was okay as the ticket said the flight took off at 3:57PM and that we would arrive in Dothan at 4:00PM.  The miracles of time zone changes!

What was billed as an hour-long flight was actually thirty minutes--not even enough time for the flight attendant to walk up and down the aisle to bump me.  Not even enough time for all those tiny bladdered people to use the air outhouse.  Nope, the flight attendant told all the men to "tie it in a know" and all the women to "cross their legs and pray a lot".  

The flight to Dothan was pretty uneventful thanks to a no nonsense flight attendant and lots of cold air.  Thirty minutes after we took off the wife and I were deplaning to be in the arms of our loved ones--our daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter.  After nearly fifteen hours of adventure in the "friendly skies" and over 2,000 miles, we were at our destination.  It was joy to embrace the children and to lay our eyes on our granddaughter.  The adventure was behind us . . . at least I thought it was . . . then I got an email from the airline company with a survey asking how our flight was.  This blog was was my response . . . hopefully they don't oversleep while reading it.  After all, we still have the flight hhome.

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