Of Body Bags and Peanut Clusters

Of Body Bags and Peanut Clusters

(Otherwise known as the joys of traveling.)

SO, I recently had to fly up to the bay area for a family event. (Reference my post about reflections). I chose an airline because of price and schedule, rather than comfort or miles.

The actual flight experience was quite good. Perhaps because I had low expectations, I was pleasantly surprised. Both flights were efficient, fast, and to the point. No frills. But, that’s what I paid for.

Great People Watching

One of my favorite things about travel is watching people in airports. I’m always surprised by what I see, and how people behave.

Example 1: Security

If you ever want to watch people at their worst, either drive on a California freeway or observe the antics at a TSA checkpoint.   The woman in front of me had to have her bag searched. She and her husband were rushing for their flight (apparently they are the only ones ever to rush for a flight.) Her argument with the TSA agent was somewhat circular, involving her rapidly departing flight and the stupidity of the bag checked. Now, I’m sure you are asking, just as all of us were, what caused the issue…. The woman had left a full bottle of water in her carry-on. For TSA that’s tantamount to breaking one of the Ten Commandments “Thou shall not carry liquids greater than 3 oz through security.” I’m pretty sure it ranks up there with no killing someone, or coveting they neighbor’s ass…. But I digress.

The amount of ‘who ha’ over a bottle of water was unbelievable. The ruckus she raised stopped the line completely. Her response to the TSA agent, “Well, it’s just a bottle of water.” As though she was more special than the rest of us who had followed the rules.

Example 2: Carry on Luggage

I managed to get seat 1C, on the aisle. The best seat in the house. I am constantly amazed at the luggage people attempt to bring onboard an aircraft. Our flight attendant greeted people with one hand, and held her sippy cup complete with straw in the other. Here is my approximation of the interaction:

Flight Attendant: Sir, that bag is too big to fit onboard. [sip sip sip]

Man: What do you mean? [Surprised face]

FA: Your bag, [sip, sip] it’s too big for the overhead compartments

Man: Really? [Outright shock on his face]

FA: [sip] Yes, I’ll have to check it for you.

Man: [shakes his head in disbelief and walks down the aisle]

So, at this point he pulled the bag to one side, giving me a look at it. IT WAS THE SIZE OF A BODY BAG. I’m pretty sure the woman in the seat next to me would have fit inside his bag. How did he think he was going to get that on an aircraft?? When the gate agent came to check the bag, it was so heavy the agent could barely lift it.

Example 3: Carry on Luggage – The sequel

This one confused me, as both the passenger and airline contributed to the problem. Airline first. In what world does it make sense that 160 people on a plane can only place 60 pieces of luggage in the overhead compartment? Mathematically, it means the airline has to bank on 100 people either have no carry-on, or hand luggage that will fit beneath the ever-shrinking seats. Is this some sort of new math I don’t know about? It’s a little like betting on red in roulette, but hoping the result will be black.

A standby passenger boarded the plane absolutely last. He took the last center seat on the aircraft. With him – one roll-aboard piece of luggage. Well, you know how this is going to end before I even start. He entered the aircraft; the same flight attendant sipped her drink and told him there was no more room for overhead luggage. His only reply, “Oh ok. Can you put it in a closet or something?” There’s no magic closet for luggage, so the flight attendant told him she would gate check it to his final location and he should get anything important, like medicine and keys, out of the bag.

Ten minutes later. The argument was still continuing as he refused to pull anything out, saying that everything in there was important. He had keys, medicines, and a CPAP machine in the bag. Finally the flight attendant (rather kindly) said, all I can do is help you remove your important items, but there is no room in the cabin for the bag. He finally capitulated, and our now delayed flight could finally take off.

This situation begs the question, if you are flying standby, and you are the last one on the flight – why are you surprised at the lack of overhead storage?

But you said peanut clusters

Oh yes. This post wasn’t just about luggage and strange attitudes. Did you know that airlines are still giving out peanuts? I didn’t. I assumed because of so many allergies peanuts were a thing of the past. Who knew?
It is never dull while traveling. I enjoy watching people, what can I say?

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Dan

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