December 7, 2005

Da Plane, Da Plane.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:03 pm

Some random notes on the flight to California.

Wake up early on Sunday morning (For openers, Sunday business travel for an early Monday morning meeting is the pits) to get ride to airport.

Holy crap! It’s snowing!! Throw on snow blowing clothes to try to clear sidewalk and driveway and sidewalks and driveways of neighbors before my ride to airport shows up.

Finished snow blowing, put on dry clothes.

Ride to airport on slippery highway.

Discover at check-in that I somehow have been bumped out of my “Premium Seat,” and now I’m in a window seat way, way back in the plane. The Check-In guy doesn’t know what I’m talking about when I explain that I had changed my seat assignment a week ago online. I’m forced to conclude that there must be things about “Premium Seats” that I do not understand, nor, would it appear that am I supposed to understand.

Board plane and, of course, it appears that every farookin’ body is brining “carry-ons,” some of which are roughly the size of Pittsburgh. Not surprisingly, there is not enough room to “stow” (bonus airline lingo) them in the cursed overhead bins. (If I were King, there would be no carry-ons). Once the “stowing” frenzy is complete, I get to my designated torture chamber seat. I remove my book from my briefcase and “stow” my briefcase under the seat in front of me.

My heart sinks when we are told that EVERY SEAT on the plane will be occupied. The flight attendant refers to this as a “full flight,” when it really ought to be called a “Cruel Flight.”

The flight is scheduled to last six hours and one minute. I try to concentrate on my book and ignore the discomfort. We “push back” (more airline lingo) at precisely the right time, and I foolishly believe that this torture will be over is just over six hours.


Pilot: “Ladies and Gentlemen, we will be delayed for just a few minutes while we head over to the concrete pad over there for a ‘quick shot of de-icing,’ and we’ll be on our way. It should only take a few minutes.”


It took two hours. The pilot failed to mention that every plane trying to take off would be headed over to the concrete pad over there for a “quick shot of de-icing.”

We finally made it to the concrete pad for our “quick shot if de-icing,” which is really a major high-volume spritz of what looks like hot water.

OK, so now it’s TWO HOURS later, we’ve been de-iced, and we’re ready to boogie. In fact, the pilot had said that there was only one plane ahead of us on the runway, so it will be “wheels up” (more bonus airline lingo) in no time.


Pilot: “Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for your patience, but we’ll have to wait for just a few minutes while they plow the runway.”

“A few minutes?” Try 45 minutes.

I’ve now been in my tiger cage for almost three hours, and we’re still in Newark.

Finally, we take off.

I needn’t tell you that, with a window seat, a trip to the bathroom requires a several apologies and major troop movement.

About four and a half hours into the flight, the pilot speaks again.

Pilot: “Ladies and gentlemen, we are about 170 miles east of Salt Lake City.”

I’m thinking, Good, a status report! We’re damned near there.”


Pilot: “Because we’ve run into some unexpected headwinds [How about sitting on the runway for damned near three hours with the motor running?], we’re a bit low on fuel, and I don’t want to chance it. We will be landing in Salt Lake City to pick up some fuel. This shouldn’t take long, and, again, I thank you for your patience.”


It took about another 45 minutes.

By this time, I had to consciously play mental games to keep from losing my marbles. OK, Jimbo. Imagine you’re on a beach on a beautiful day just staring out at the surf. Hmmm, how many different kinds of fruit can you name in German? How about state capitals? Can I name the kids in my sixth grade class?

After about ninety more minutes of flying, we arrived in San Francisco.

I figure that we spent damned near eleven hours stuffed into that farookin’ plane.

The good news is that everyone was … well … patient.


  1. Oh God – that’s what I *hate* flying. ::shudder::

    Comment by Kate — December 7, 2005 @ 9:35 pm

  2. I seem to recall reading somewhere that Newark International either leads the nation or is in the top 5 of airports suffering departure delays. I’ve gotten so fed up with it that I fly out of Laguardia now. Much to my initial surprise, it’s actually a much nicer airport and you don’t have to hike ten miles inside the airport to get to your gate.

    Comment by Ed Tapanes — December 7, 2005 @ 9:50 pm

  3. … Jesus, dude.. makes the flught to Spain sound like a walk in the park…

    Comment by Eric — December 7, 2005 @ 10:57 pm

  4. I’m all about the mental games… I’ve been known to calculate the square footage of conference rooms and then try to figure out the volume, the goal being to calculate how many gallons of Lemon Jello (inside joke, heh) would fit in that room.

    Airplanes suck.

    Comment by Bou — December 8, 2005 @ 7:33 am

  5. And the Air Marshall drew his weapon how many times? Welcome home.

    Comment by Sgt Hook — December 8, 2005 @ 7:58 am

  6. Jim, Jim, Jim. When will you learn?

    1. A “premium seat” is NO GUARANTEE that your seat will be either “premium” OR a “seat.” Read your ticket’s fine print, which also includes the oft-ignored “Kicking Brat” and “Loudly, Ceaselessly Yapping Persons” clauses.

    2. The infrequent air travelers among us enjoy the ritual SPAZZ OUT WITH CARRY-ONS, SLAM THOSE OVERHEAD BINS REPEATEDLY & PLAY WITH THE LITTLE CONTROLS ABOVE THE SEAT portion of the trip. It is very selfish of you to deny them these experiences just because they are old hat to you, Mister.

    BTW, how many kinds of fruit DID you name in German? 🙂 Cracked me up. So glad you’re back.

    Comment by dogette — December 8, 2005 @ 10:36 am

  7. Oh, you want the premium nasal spray?

    Bend over, please.

    Comment by Sluggo — December 8, 2005 @ 11:39 am

  8. ACK… not making me feel better about my trip back home in a few weeks… I hate airlines and passengers! Flying is just fine though…

    Comment by Princess Cat — December 8, 2005 @ 6:24 pm

  9. The Games We Play

    Jim over at Parkway Rest Stop has a pretty funny post on his latest trip to California. It’s the flight he writes about, ending with the ‘mental games’ of keeping sane. I think we all play them, don’t we? Jim’s…

    Trackback by Boudicca's Voice — December 8, 2005 @ 9:52 pm

  10. Well… just thank your lucky stars that none of the passengers demanded to get off when you had to wait 3 hours for take-off! That adds about another 2 hours to the trip… mainly because they piss off the pilot who makes them wait over an hour to get off the plane and then tells the rest of the unlucky stiffs that – oops now we have to refuel!

    I hate airlines! I wish I could go places without having to use them… Sadly I really love the flying part.

    Comment by Teresa — December 9, 2005 @ 12:02 am

  11. After more than 500 flights, you described my typical flight in the last few years. That is why I am willing to drive 8-10 hours now. Any flight from home to destination will take at least 8 hours. Remember, the first people the airlines fire when facing financial issues is the customer service people. That says a lot about their priorities I think.

    Comment by hoosierboy — December 9, 2005 @ 8:45 am

  12. Brilliant description! To top it off, you had to go to the Bay Area!

    Comment by Breakup Babe — December 9, 2005 @ 12:09 pm

  13. Sounds like my week. Hell, it sounds like my freakin’ life.

    Comment by Elisson — December 9, 2005 @ 1:28 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress