So, it's been a little over a week since I came home from visiting my cousins in Spokane WA. The trauma of air travel reminded me of why it's a good thing I can't afford to do it regularly.
Starting at the airport- The desk clerk had trouble with my reservation because the moron reservations clerk spelled my name wrong. DESPITE the fact that I spelled it for her at least 6 times. And it's not an uncommonly hard name. She finally found it, said the spelling was "probably close enough that TSA won't give you any trouble" and sent me on my way.
Stood in line for TSA screening for approximately 3 years. Found out why as I got closer to the front- there were 3 lines: 1 for families, 1 for 'casual' travelers, and 1 for 'expert' travelers. All three lines were then funneled to one lonely clerk checking ID's while several others wandered about and giggled about how long the line was. I warned him upfront that my name was spelled wrong on the boarding pass- he looked wearily at me & said "If it's even close, I'll let you go through." It was, but that did not make me feel like safety was a priority. Then again, I didn't relish the thought of going back to the res desk and having to stand in that line again, either.
Next was the body scanner. Standiford Field has one of the delightful new gizmos that basically x-rays you. Every single person ahead of me was told to take EVERYTHING out of their pockets and send it through the luggage scanner with their shoes and carry-on baggage, before standing spread-eagled in the machine with their hands on their heads like they were being arrested, and every single one of them failed to follow the instructions. "But it's only a piece of paper!" It still shows up on the scanner as a foreign object, dumbass, so enjoy your strip search. Being a reasonably intelligent person, I heard what was being said and stuck my lipgloss (the only thing in my pockets) into my purse for the scan and laid my ticket on top. The guard nearly kissed me and told me I was the first person on his shift to do what they were supposed to. I also remembered to take my quart baggie of trial sized liquid products out of the bag. (because hair gel will take down a plane, you know) Most of my fellow travelers didn't and had to have their bags searched, thus extending the wait for those behind us.
Backtracking a minute- I hate the whole hassle of having to take my shoes off to go through security, but it's been in policy for so long that I've resigned myself to it and wear shoes that are easy to remove and put back on. Many of the others around me did likewise, even if they couldn't get any of the other security instructions right. However, one dumb bitch in line ahead of me was wearing thigh-high bondage boots with all kinds of buckles/straps/studs and complained that taking them off was going to be a major hassle. It took her (highly embarrassed) boyfriend & 2 TSA guards 5 minutes to get them off her, and she and the BF were still trying to get them back on when I passed them 10 minutes later.
Highlight of the pre-boarding experience- still had nearly an hour before my flight, and there was a conveniently placed $tarbuck$ near the gate. I needed caffeine desperately, having gotten up earlier than normal to try to get some last minute cleaning done. (Mom was going to see my house while she took care of the cats for me. Nuff said?)They had a heretofore unknown to me jumbo sized coffee, so I wound up with what was basically a quart of iced coffee. Yes, I was smart enough to go to the bathroom BEFORE boarding the flight, and while I didn't need to go during it, I was very happy to get to my layover in Denver and find a bathroom close to my gate there.
I understand that airlines try to cram as many passengers as possible onto their flights because jet fuel isn't cheap. It's both clever and evil that they offer more leg room for premium pricing. Even so, as much as I would like to have the extra leg room, I can't afford it. Do you know what happens when you cram a 6ft, 300 lb Amazon into an economy class seat? It ain't pretty. Luckily I at least got an aisle seat on each segment of the trip. Other than being whacked by the flight attendants and the beverage carts every pass down the aisle, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be...
...until the first leg of my return flight home. I was seated directly behind a 500 lb asshat college boy, traveling with his buddies. not only did this jackhole run his mouth for the duration of the 2 hour flight, he damn near killed me. About 10 minutes into the flight, we got the all clear from the pilot that electronic devices could be used. Yippee, let's break out the Kindle. (and MAN do I love having the Kindle. I used to have to fill my carry-on with books, which weighed a ton and was a pain in the ass to haul around, and since I read quickly, it also meant having to get up and root through the overhead bins for another book. Not anymore!) No sooner than I turned my Kindle on, Shamu decides that he can't possibly sit upright for the less than 2 hours left of the flight and reclines his chair all the way back. This knocks the Kindle out of my hands and traps my arms under him, while pressing the air out of my lungs. (that is honestly how close together the seats were) I managed to squeak, and the couple next to me tried to get his attention. He had his headphones on (but was still shouting conversation at his buddies) and acted like he couldn't hear them. They finally rang for the flight attendant, a sweet-natured gay man, who came up, took one look at the situation and told Shamu to sit up at once so I could at least get my arms free. He complained that he 'had the right to recline his seat' and that 'fat chicks like her shouldn't fly unless they lose weight.' I resisted the urge to strangle him on the spot AND point out that he'd needed 2 seatbelt extenders, so he had NO business calling anyone fat. Not to mention that anyone who can't sit upright for less than 2 hours probably shouldn't be flying themselves. My savior attendant picked up my Kindle for me (I put it back in the seat pocket, because I could already see what was coming next) and asked him to show a little consideration for those around him, before walking away. No sooner was he gone, Shamu slammed his seat back down. I didn't say a word, just sat trapped with my arms at my sides and literally one inch of space between us.
We got to Denver and Shamu was the first person to leap (well, lumber) to his feet, despite the fact that it was going to take at least 5 minutes to get the aircraft doors open. The front of the plane slowly cleared out (we were about halfway back) and I was presented with an opportunity for revenge. Shamu had moved up about 18 inches, just leaving enough room for me to ease out of my seat. He moved up a few inches further and I reached up to grab my bag out of the overhead bin. Checking that there was nobody directly in front of him, I swung my bag down and into the back of his fat head, knocking him halfway up the aisle. "Ooopsie," I cried. "So sorry- you know how clumsy us fat bitches are!" His buddies were laughing at him as they all filed off the plane. I got cheered on by the passengers who'd been sitting around us. And my flight attendant pal gave me a BIG smile as I passed him on the way out and whispered "Nice shot, honey!"
So, no, I'm not looking forward to my next plane trip. I was supposed to fly to Miami this coming weekend for Wrestlemania, but that trip has been cancelled due to extraneous circumstances. It's probably for the best.
Until next week......