Airplane travel observations

Couple of observations about airplane travel (and some on airport dining) from our recent South Carolina trip:

  • Alaska Air has a lot of legroom in their 737s. Very comfortable flight back from Chicago -> Seattle!
  • It’s impossible to get first class upgrades. 2 legs of our trip were 100% booked in first class and the other 2 didn’t have this class of service on the plane. The good news is that Jodi and I got an entire row to ourselves on the final (long) leg of the trip, so it was pretty pleasant, even in steerage (see my above comment about leg room on the Alaska Air flight).
  • The Chili’s Too near the “H1B” gate (really, that’s the name of the gate!) at O’Hare is terrible. Avoid it like the plague. Service was awful, truly awful on the way to SC.
  • The Fox Sports grill down near the L gates was excellent though — very fast and quality service on the way back.


And, finally – flying on the weekends is irritating for two specific reasons:

  1. Every single person flying each weekend has NEVER FLOWN BEFORE IN THEIR LIFE, or at least so they’d have you believe. They can’t figure out how walk in an airport. They can’t figure out how to check-in with the self-service machines. They can’t figure out how to get through security without holding up the line. Ack! πŸ™‚
  2. The airlines sincerely believe that I want them to talk to me throughout the entire flight over the loud LOUD speaker. Reassure me that they do sell drinks for only $5. That, yes, I can purchase the headphones for the movie in just a few moments. That this is the best opportunity to get 10,000 extra bonus miles by signing up for their visa card. Or… and this one is the worst of all… that I am incapable of finding one of the dozens of electronic signboards in the arrival terminal to figure out my connection gate and that therefore the best way to solve this problem is to read EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THE CONNECTING GATES FOR EVERY PASSENGER ON THE FLIGHT! This deafening process generally goes on for 5-10 minutes near the end of the flight, and ends with an announcement that now we have to turn off our electronic devices (ie – I’ve been unable to concentrate on — or ever really hear — my electronic device for the whole time).

Am I the only one who finds this annoying? Thank heavens they don’t seem to regularly do this for travel during the week.


  1. James Sloan said,

    May 28, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    I’m sure this doesn’t surprise you that I find it annoying too. That’s why I’m at home this weekend. Holiday weekends amplify the “I’ve never seen an airplane before” effect, adding the “and I’ve brought along my whole family, who’s also never seen a plane” effect as well.

    My favorite is the security line, where people seem unable to comprehend that METAL will set off the METAL DETECTOR. I don’t know how these people dress themselves. There is a pretty funny Dane Cook sketch about it too – about how these people could be Fortune 500 CEOs, but the minute they step into the airport it’s like they’re in the backyard playing with poop.

    I wrote a short story about it once, since it was the only way to keep from absolutely freaking out on the flight that day. That’s when I came up with “ASSWISE” (patent pending).

    It was only a matter of time before bankrupt airlines figured out that they have a captive audience of hapless lemmings for advertising, but being a pilot I smile and laugh when the pilot comes on, unable to resist his absolute excitement that he gets paid to fly planes, and describes the entire route in language uninteligible to most:

    “We’ll be departing runway 5L today with a light left crosswind. We’ll climb out on a 220 heading along the VERBOSE 4 departure until we reach OVRKL intersection, at which point we’ll join Victor 75 to Akron. We’ll squak 2347 and communicate with Bud, our controller, on 124.75. We’ll arrive via the ILS 27L approach to O’Hare. It’s a bit chilly and windy aloft today, with winds 260 at 36, and minus 40 degrees. By the way, we apologize, but the volume knob for the intercom is inoperative.”

    At least you have your lovely wife to experience and “enjoy” this with you. Then it becomes a journey, not a means to an end.

  2. Allen said,

    June 5, 2007 at 1:10 pm

    ah the life of a traveler. πŸ™‚ I agree with most points except that upgrades are impossible.

    Upgrades at the airport for those people that do not have “status” with the airline are impossible. I have never been successful using miles/points to upgrade at the time of check-in. However, I have had several upgrades to first class for free since I have Elite status on Continental. I get mad when I don’t get upgraded. πŸ™‚ If you do have status, your best bet is to check in online as soon as it opens up. Your name will get placed higher on the first class upgrade list. Of course this list depends on ticket class/fare, elite status, and order checked in.

    Your rant about people in the airport reminds me of something I wrote a while back about a commute to NYC. πŸ™‚