Flight Risk

  • Whenever flying, there is a 1,200% chance (figures approximate) you’ll be seated next to whatever annoys you the most. On the flight from Minnesota to Jamaica, there was this teenage dude sitting in front of us who was so hormonal and amped about his first spring break trip you could literally hear the whiteheads growing on his face. He and his fellow dude wrestled and goofed around for approximately six hours of the four hour flight and on several occasions had me ready to pummel both to death with the business end of my seat belt. On the way back, the woman sitting next to me — whom I saw sitting at the gate for at least an hour before the flight left — chose the moment she got on the plane to eat the smelliest, grossest thing they sold in Jamaica. I’m not sure of local cuisine norms, but it looked and smelled like burnt donkey taint.
  • Ever think about how ironic it is that they ask the passengers in the exit row to assist in the event of an emergency? They even ask you to read the little card and provide verbal affirmation you’re willing to take on this responsibility. Recently I had to watch a three minute YouTube video on how to change the headlight on my 2004 Oldsmobile Alero, but someone is going to trust me to know what the hell I’m doing in the event of a catastrophic aviation disaster? Not likely. Then they have the nerve to yell at me that my backpack was sticking out too far from under the seat and that the aisle has to remain clear in the event of an emergency exit. Lady, if that emergency door opens sometime in the next four hours, my backpack will be the least of all our worries.
  • Speaking of implicit trust, what about the luggage carousel situation? I go to the airport and every move I make is scrutinized and watched. They check my ID 361 times (numbers approximate), scold me not to leave my luggage unattended, strip me naked and drag me through a metal detector, and then when it’s all over and I made it to where I’m going….they just lay all your stuff out where anyone can grab it and say “Here you go, come get your shit!” Thank God most people don’t have black suitcases or it would make it really inconvenient to find your bag amongst hundreds of others.
  • The worst part of the plane is the back, by far. And it has everything to do with the bathroom. We were on a 3x3 seat plane to Jamaica that looked to have about 30–40 rows. So let’s say that thing held 200 people. They stick their tiny little bathrooms in the very back for these couple hundred people (there’s also one up front for the nine people who can afford first class — I heard it even has a butler inside of it) and everyone has to take turns waiting for it. On this flight, there was a steady line of about four to five people at just about all times to get in there. And if you recall anything about air travel, the aisles aren’t very big, which means the people sitting in the aisle seat are basically face to genitals with every person standing in that line. These planes are always hot, too, so I can just imagine trying to enjoy your flight when you’re inches away from some guy whose junk has been simmering in a stew of its own juices for 2+ hours.
  • But yes, the heat on planes is atrocious, especially when counteracted with the raging power of those tiny little “fans” they put above you. C’mon now, fans these are not. They basically blow with the same power as an old man trying to cool a spoonful of Clam Chowder before jamming it in his mouth. What also contributes is the ridiculous proximity of the passengers around you. I don’t mind my wife sitting close to me, but the strange lady on my left was so far up my ass she was considered a piece of carryon luggage. And when you’re me and someone is in your personal space, what do you do to try to not touch them? You fold your arms in front of you, of course! Oh, hey, just curious, what do people do when they’re frickin’ freezing and they don’t have a coat and need to warm up? Yep! Hell of a combination.
  • Oh, and back to the 3x3 seats for a second. Just…why? If you’re a family of four, one person is getting split off. If you’re a twosome, some strange burnt donkey taint-eating person is going to join your party. You basically have to be one of the Jonas Brothers to not be bothered by the seating arrangement.
  • Raise your hand if you love going through customs. Waiting. Yep, didn’t think so. Getting back into my own home country was the biggest pain in the ass of the whole thing. In Jamaica they were just like, “Here for vacation? Come on in!” In Newark they were like, “Coming home? Fuck you!” Actually, it wasn’t quite THAT bad, but what is it about customs officers that make you immediately feel guilty? As he was going through my paperwork I started worrying whether my wife had packed my suitcase full of pears that I didn’t know about.
  • Seat belt signs are one of my biggest annoyances on planes, especially when the pilot is delayed in making the announcement as to why it’s coming on. You’re cruising along at 37,000 feet in the air and suddenly you hear this little noise and the light goes on. It’s like if you’re driving down the highway and your check engine light is on, only this time if your gas cap isn’t screwed on tight you’ll plummet six miles to your fiery death. Meanwhile, for about 100 other ass hat passengers, the seat belt sign is a signal to get up and go to the bathroom. It’s nuts! Watch sometime. The seat belt sign comes on and immediately somebody is going to get up and head to the shitter as if to say, “Hahaha, I laugh in the face of your safety recommendations. Watch as I piss all over this broom closet at 630 mph!” But back to the seat belt thing, yeah, the light comes on and then the pilot waits like 30 seconds or so and says something nondescript like, “Yeah, we’ve got a patch of rough air up ahead so we’re going to turn this on.” How far is up ahead? Are we in it now? When do we know when we’re out of it? Oh, right, when they just magically turn the light off with no additional information.
  • But the freakiest thing is when the “rough air ahead” notice is soon followed by an order from the cockpit for the flight attendants to take their seats. That’s when shit gets a little uneasy. And they don’t just call them on their little phone to tell them, they announce it to the whole plane. “Hey, you know those people we have stand the whole time because things really aren’t that dangerous, but we’re being extra cautious? Yeah, we want them to buckle up now.” That’s unsettling. Even more unsettling though — you know what they call the flight attendant seats? Go ahead, guess.
    Jump seats! They call them jump seats!?!? Is there a worse term you could throw in front of it than the very word you say right before you parachute out of a plane? Hell, if we’re going to be ok with that we should just go ahead and rename the seat belt light the, “We’re all going to fucking die indicator.”

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