Sunday, April 13, 2008

Airplane Travel

Due to jetlag and a bad cold I have been in a foul mood all weekend. There are many things I want to share about my big Africa via Amsterdam trip, but I right now I don't feel like it. I would rather complain about flying in an airplane.

I spent more than 50 hours on one airplane or another over the course of my travels. It works out to be about 15% of the trip. That would be fine if the airplane was a pleasant place to be, but for all of us in economy , it is not. I really dislike flying. Part of it is fear - not fear of flying, rather fear of crashing, but there are so many things that make flying about as pleasurable as sticking pins in my eyes.

Most of my flying time (about 40 hours) was spent from LA to Amsterdam and Amsterdam to Cape Town (and back again) on a major airline. I will not mention it's name, but I will say that it has the same initials as I do...KLM. My ticket for these flights cost me over $2,000. Did I mention that this was economy class? That is more than my monthly mortgage payment people! For that amount of money I should be getting 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. But instead, I get a blue polyester seat that is about 2 centimeters away from another economy class smuck.

Can they put the seats any closer together? I have very short legs but still walked out of each flight with bruises on my knees after the shithead in front of me decided to invade my personal space and slam his seat back, crashing my tray table into my legs. With my claustrophobic issues all that closeness makes me feel like I can't breathe.

And how about the in-flight entertainment? One of my seven flights had the personal video screen that allowed me to choose what movies or shows I wanted to watch. That sure makes a difference in the passing of time when you you get to choose your entertainment. However, the other flights had the screens mounted to the ceiling. Even with my glasses on it was too far away and during the 11 hours, they showed only 2 movies. Two of the flights showed the same movies. Again, I must remind you that I had all of this for over $2,000. In this day and age where you can watch movies or listen to music on your cell phone, why wouldn't they be able to master an entertaining entertainment system.

Can we just talk about airplane food and drink? Why is it that the flight attendants run out of the 2nd meal choice just as they get to row that I am sitting in? This happened over and over during the course of 51+ hours. Airplane food is bad enough even when you get to choose your meal. When your choice is fish or eggs I choose the cold roll sitting on the tray. The best meal I had on the plane was the bag of Texan Paprika Dorrito Dots that were passed around on the Amsterdam to LAX flight. I say, for $2,000 they must be delicious. However, the deliciousness of those Dorritos was canceled out when on that same flight the stewardess flung a tray of apple and orange juice down my back side and chair. I even had juice in my underwear after that one.

All of that - the space, the movies, the food, the drinks - is a pain, but the worst part for me is sitting still for that long. I am a terrible sitter if I have nothing to do. I have very antsy legs and can't sit still for very long. Over a long period of sitting time, I have to cross one leg, uncross that leg, cross the other leg, uncross the other leg, sit on one foot, sit on the other foot, and sit criss cross apple sauce over and over. This is just not happening on the airplane. If the shithead in front of me keeps his seat upright, I am lucky to cross one of my legs, but my only choice is to cross and then uncross the same leg. Sometimes I cross that leg and then the shithead slams the seat back and my leg gets stuck and I can't uncross it easily. That really pisses me off. I have also tried sitting on a foot, but unsitting on the foot is hard. Therefore I can't be antsy and I turn into a nervous wreck.

There are many people who get up and walk around to get the ants out of their pants, but that is a pain in the butt too. Sometimes you get trapped by the food/drink cart, sometimes you have to pass someone standing in the aisle, and sometimes you trip over blankets or pillows that have fallen to the floor and were never picked up because the person who dropped them kept hitting their head on the seat in front of them and just gave up and left them there.

I guess I shouldn't complain too much. In this time of airline turbulence (get it?) I should deem myself lucky that I am not stranded in South Africa or The Netherlands...wait a minute maybe I would rather be there since I start back to work tomorrow - probably another reason for my pissy mood.

I love to travel to new places, but it is just too bad that the places I want to go require that I fly on an airplane.


  1. Yuck. I don't like flying either. I can't imagine 50 hours in one of those seats! I hope Africa made the flight worth it!

  2. That post was well worth the wait. You made me luagh out loud. next time I see you, I want you to recount the plane experience in person. I'm sure that would be even better. I like you.

  3. I'm so glad it isn't just us 6 foot tall people who get jammed up when some inconsiderate boob decides to relax in their seat.
    Sorry to hear of the poor flights, hope the trip itself was worth it.

  4. You got orange juice in your pants? This whole thing sounds like a nightmare. That's it. I'm never flying again.