Ah, flying. There's nothing like being cramped in the back of a plane with 200 other people, enjoying the sights and the sounds, to say nothing of the smells. Four hours and fifteen minutes (Orange County, California to Atlanta) is a long time to be stuck with nowhere to go. No wonder people have panic attacks. Any time you have to use the rest room, you have to crawl over 12 people. On the way to Atlanta today, everyone in coach had to use the restrooms in the back; the ones in the front were First Class Only.
Customer service is getting worse and worse. My company normally flies Delta; I think their strategy for attracting customers is to slowly take away every perk. Let's cram the seats closer together; let's cut down the number of attendants; let's take away all the food. Okay, that last one's not completely true. If you have a cross-country flight, you get a snack pack with crackers, shortbread cookie, and a cranberry and raisin mix. Mmmm... Ah, how I miss the soggy turkey sandwich, mushy apple, smashed chips, and warm water you could pick up at the gate door. Those were the days. And now, because of the stupid terrorists, I can't even bring on a coffee or my requisite 20 oz. bottle of Coke.
Of course, as I write this, I'm sitting in Atlanta at 3:35 pm, 47 minutes before my flight leaves, praying they don't delay or, Heaven forbid, cancel it. All I want to do is get back to my beautiful wife and daughter.
I should count my blessings. Up until now, my biggest disappointment this week took place at breakfast. Every day this week, we stopped at Starbucks for coffee on the way in to work. And every day this week, I resisted the temptation to buy a delicious piece of pumpkin bread. My wife had stocked me with Slimfast bars, so I already had breakfast. Plus I didn't need the pumpkin bread, so I thought I'd wait until the last day and splurge. So yesterday morning we stopped again, my head filling with thoughts of moist, delicious pumpkin bread. But this time Starbucks didn't have any. Not a single slice. So I got a donut. It just wasn't the same.
But, that being the low point of my week (besides the flights between California and Atlanta) I think I have a lot to be thankful for. I'm glad I'm going home now.
Update: 4:10 pm (Atlanta). I just headed back to Concourse D. I was already there once but there were no good french fries on the concourse, so I went back to Concourse B to hunt some down. I should've gone to A, because I had to settle for Checkers’s seasoned fries, and what I wanted were those big steak fries with ketchup. Anyway - back to Concourse D. When I came up the escalator, I checked my flight. On time! So I headed down to gate 35. Which didn't have the Huntsville flight. I guess I should have checked for a gate change when I looked to see if it was on time. So I found it back four gates at D31 (which I had just passed). Still on time! So I sat down. But I looked up, and the Huntsville information disappeared. They just changed the gate back to D35.
So now I'm back at D35 where I notice that my 4:22 flight is now scheduled for 4:45. I can handle 20 minutes. I just want to get home.
Update: 4:43 pm. OK, gate change to D33. That's right next door, and the time is the same (according to the loudspeaker). I can deal with that.
Update: 4:48 pm. Alright, they lied. The time did change. Now it's 5:10. No wait, 5:20. Great, it's changing as I'm standing here writing this. But, it says the plane is at the gate, so it shouldn't be long now. One hour. I'll only be an hour late getting home. 7 pm, instead of 6. I can handle one hour.
Update: 5:11 pm. I'm sitting on the plane! It's a small one (about 45 seats), so we should be in the air soon.
Update: 5:23 pm. They haven't closed the door yet, but they just announced that there would be no using the restroom while we are in the air. I've never heard them say that before.
Update: 5:27 pm. Our flight attendant, Thambi, is giving us instructions. I swear she just said, "Make sure your seat backs are up and uncomfortable." Then she told a bald passenger that his head was glowing. She actually compared it to that briefcase in Pulp Fiction! I like it better when the flight attendants have personality.
Update: 5:35 pm. We appear to be 8th in line on the runway. Not long now...
Update: 6:03 pm. In the air! Halfway to Huntsville and I'm reading Batman Unmasked. An interesting, even scholarly book discussing the history of Batman and his impact on culture.
Update: 5:20 pm (Huntsville). Touchdown! Finally landed in Hunstville. Because of the time change, it always feels like I've gone back in time. I should be home by 7.