I realized that I am very blessed when it comes to travel. As of today I’ve actually flown 77,728 miles, butt in seat, in 34 flights. Of those 34 flight, 10 flights were in coach. Of those 10, the shortest flight was 20 minutes, from Zanzibar to Dar Es Salaam, and the longest, Chicago to Los Angeles.
I am not ridiculous enough to need a nice seat on a 20 minute flight, but man, that 4 hour 15 minute flight to LA was interesting. When I am lucky enough to travel in a premium cabin, I do not worry about getting food before the flight, because I will be feed. I do not run to the gate and line up for boarding because they will always find space for my carry on. I do not worry about dressing in layers, because if I am cold, they will provide a blanket.
Well flying coach to LA this past weekend, was a reality check for me. First I had to raid my “travel” bag for expiring emergency food rations. You know the bag that normally goes everywhere with me but was not needed for an overnight, that has everything and anything I could possible need on a trip in it. Then I had to think about if I needed my travel blanket and pillow. It being August, it really could go either way, plane could be too hot or too cold, for sake of traveling light I left it at home. My flight has a 12:00 pm departure, so I no leaving at 10:30 like I normally would, I need to leave no later then 9:45 am.
I arrived at the airport with plenty of time, or so I thought. I stopped to buy a sandwich, in case I did not like the food options on the plane. Again, never really paid any attention to the food choices before. $13.10 later for 1 turkey, brie and apple sandwich and a Coke. I make it to the gate 2 minutes before they are starting to board. I line up with all the other anxious coach travelers jockeying for overhead space.
No matter what time of day, airline, country, I always, and I mean always, say Hello, Good Morning, How are You? to everyone that I encounter that is assisting me on my travels. I am always appalled by how rude people can be. Maybe the agent is having a bad day? Try saying Hi, How are you? before demanding to have your seat changed. Sugar goes a long way. And until I reach my final destination, I may need help, just saying…..
So I leisurely stroll down the jet way, because I could, and I say Good Morning to the flight attendant, she was kind of shocked, Morning, you don’t look happy? I said, Doll, I am flying COACH, of course I am not happy. Smiling as I get to 10A. Bag is safe in overhead bin, I can now relax. Hmmm, if only the story ends here.
Something fun I learned on this flight, the armrest on the left actually raises as well, it maybe because it’s an old Continental plane, but it sure made me happy. I grab my Ipod, put my headphones on and try to ignore those walking by me. An older lady comes and stops by my row, she hands me her ticket and points to my seat. I thought, YEAH, my upgrade cleared, nope, she was the aisle seat. She then proceeds to take off her shoes and put her feet up. Seriously, I know we have extra legroom, but you are not at home, put your feet down.
I then notice the flight attendant trying to swim upstream, coming from the rear of the plane to front, poor thing. Apparently, the guy in front of me had hit his call button. Oh this is not going to be good. He tells her that he has just flown in from Frankfut and wanted to make sure his bag made the connection. ** If you have ever had an international connection in the US, you know that when you arrive you must clear Passport Control and Customs, so you collect your bags, clear customs, and recheck your bags for the next flight** He could only have come in on the United flight that arrived in 10.30, so it was safe to assume that since he was already on the plane, his bag made the flight. So the Flight Attendant offered to go find out. Apparently not fast enough for Mr. 9A. He pressed his call button again, and then after 30 seconds, again, and then 30 seconds later, again. I was about to tell him what he could if he pushed that button again, when he got up to go and find a flight attendant, as one was coming over. A manager came on board, told the man in a firm tone, your bag is on the plane, enough already.
So now we’ve got the complainer in 9a and the feet up on the tray table in 10c. Did I mention it was 10b’s tray table she had her feet on? Enough already, jeez we have not even taken off yet! You can imagine what 9a had to say about the food and drink selection, I may not have been familiar with the options before but I sure was now, after the poor flight attendant had to explain each and everyone of them.
I survived the flight, but that could be because a little wine and cheese can make just about anything bearable………