Thursday, April 2, 2009

Flights From Hell: You're Not Alone

Finally there is a place to vent about our flying travails. Check out It will make you laugh; it will make you cry; it may make you want to stay out of sky! But it is a lot of fun to read and commiserate with others. Not to miss: The post about "Mr. Poopy Pants."

I am a very tolerant traveler, but I do have a couple of hellish stories of my own.

I used to travel quite a bit to Pennsylvania to visit my grandmother. It was cheaper to fly to Detroit on Northwest and take a commuter flight into a town near hers than to fly directly into her small town on another airline. So, over the course of several years, I flew this particular route a lot. The same flight attendant often worked the commuter leg. She was an older, attractive woman who was very pleasant while on the ground. But once we were airborne, she would become, dare I say, wicked witch-like???

She only picked on one traveler each time, and she would become very strident and almost hateful to whomever was in her crosshairs at the moment. One time I was sitting next to a gentleman who became her victim. She started arguing about his coat or something else trivial. She became demanding and obnoxious--I don't remember their exact exchange, but he was in the right and was very taken aback. At one point, he muttered "You have got to be kidding!" I sat there silently enjoying the display and witnessed several others on other flights.

Little did I know I would be caught in her web on a subsequent flight! I had just started law school, and was traveling to visit some other relatives. I had a torts test looming, and my notes and cases in my bag were my lifeblood, so much so that I would have run into a burning building to save them. If I lost those papers, I was sunk. I had a set of notes out to read during the flight, but the rest of my material was in a bag nicely tucked under the seat in front of me. Well, FA didn't think so. She kept trying to take the bag upfront. I told her I really needed to keep the bag with me. She kept on and on and was getting hateful. I showed her that the bag fit fine under the seat. But on and on she kept harassing. I told her that if the bag went up front, do did I. I was not to be separated from that bag! Somehow it wasn't so enjoyable when I was the butt of her problem. She really should not be an FA. I wonder if she is still working.

Another situation: I really don't like it when people ask you to switch seats. For the most part, it is an imposition. I usually book my seat way in advance and choose the seat that I want. I am sorry if you can't sit with your SO, BFF, or whoever else you are traveling with, but that is not my problem. On a flight from Europe a while back a couple didn't have seats together. The man asked if I would change seats so they could sit together. He was asking me to give him my great seat and sit in his awful seat. I said no. Then he asked another passenger, who did agree, but who was going to get a better seat out of the deal. Why did they not ask him to begin with? I would never ask someone to change their seat unless they would get a better seat out of the bargain. And the icing on the cake: The girlfriend glared at me for the entire flight! Grow up!

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