Friday Fives – flying edition

Are you afraid to fly?  Do you enjoy it?

Love to fly.  Flying to me is like a dog’s relationship with cars.  Hate security and almost everything about the airport.  Super duper stressful.  Flying, though, it awesome.  What’s not to love?  Cruising across the sky at 700 miles an hour while sitting on your butt sipping whiskey and watching movies is about the best possible way to spend an afternoon.  Then, once you sit up, you are on a different part of the Earth.  Pretty great if you ask me!

What, for  you, is the over/under on what is drivable vs better to fly?

8 hours is a perfect cut off.  Doesn’t mean I won’t drive further.  We drive to Phx at least once a year, and that is about 15 hours.  We have that drive mastered.  We used to stop half way (Albuquerque) for sleep.  Now, we plow straight through.  Each person drives a full tank.  Once your tank is empty – stop for fuel and potty and snacks and now you get a four-hour break.  Now, if this were an entry about driving and road trips, I would do 500 words on why jerky is essential for car travel.  This is about flying, so let’s stay focused!   So, why drive 15 hours to Phoenix if I could fly there in 90 minutes? That is about other aspects – like having a car when we get there, having flexibility on schedule, and being able to take the doggies with us.

Any great flying/airplane stories?

This one.  I wrote about it before, so am just linking it here.  Short story is this.  Pilot told us we were held up due to a broken engine and some paperwork.  Then, 20 minutes later he said “we are clear to fly, we fixed the paperwork”.  Gee, that’s great and all.  But … uh… what about the engine, mister?

Any terrible flying/airplane stories?

Yeah.  Years ago we were heading to Florida for a vacation.  We had a super bad flight, because of a storm we hit.  Super bad.  Terrifying.  The plane shook, those masks came down, people were crying.  I was absolutely positive we were going to crash.  At that moment, I made peace with my death.  I literally sat there and thought “I have had a great life, I am with my great friend and my wife.  I have no regrets.”  But, we didn’t die.  When we finally arrived, though, the pilot was overheard to say it was the worst turbulence he had ever experienced.

Now, this hasn’t sworn me off of flying at all.  That is just part of the risk.  However, I would bet more than a handful of people who were on that flight never got on a plane again.  No one did anything wrong, though.  That is just the deal with zooming across the heavens.

People used to dress up to fly, and it was a privilege that people looked forward to.  With that said, what is the future of air travel?

it certainly has moved to a lowest common denominator.  However, that isn’t the airlines fault.  That is the consumers’ fault.  This is our own creation.  I don’t see anything getting better anytime soon.  Another thing it seems is that pilots aren’t the best anymore.  It used to be that airline pilots were ex military.  They had all flown Vietnam and had seen everything.  They also made a TON of money.  Pilots were rich, and you want your pilots rich.  Just like doctors.  Those pilots in that fatal crash in Buffalo were overworked.  They also had to moonlight because they couldn’t make a decent living just being pilots.

Again, I am not going to blame unions or big mean corporations.  This comes down to you and I – being cheap.

So, in summary, I love to fly.  However, a quick search shows I have a long history of also complaining about them.  See here, here, and here.  And, I can’t walk away from a story on flying without including this great video – United Breaks Guitars!


the Flight Attendants need our help!

You may have heard that they are going to start letting small knives on airplanes now.  I think this is swell.  In the interest of full disclosure, I really like knives.  At every waking moment, at all times, I have at least 2 knives on me.  One on my leatherman, which is always on me, and one on my keychain… also likewise always on me.  You don’t want to know how many more I have in the truck.  I just really like knives.  Why? They are super useful.  I use one all the time.  The wifey thinks I am nuts, and creepy about the knives.  Understood.  But, at least once a day she asks me for a knife for something or other.  Yes, each time I hand it to her, I remind her how wonderful they are.

This isn’t why i write, though.  In fact, you know that already.  I dare say I am famous for the build up prologues.  It is because I am a big fan of context, and you are too.

The reason I write is because flight attendants are all up in arms about this.  They feel the change is unnecessary, and dangerous.  This is what their spokeswoman, Sara  Nelson has to say

“It’s very simple for flight attendants, whose jobs changed on September 11th 2001, that we were not only aviation’s first responders, but we became aviation’s last line of defence,” she said.

Do you want to know what I think about this?  Of course you do, that is why you are reading.  What I think goes thusly – Sara Nelson, go fuck yourself!  Why?  Lemme tell you, buster.

Over the last ten years, flying has gotten more and more difficult and trying.  It is a pain physically, emotionally and financially.  Flying sucks now, which is a bummer.  I used to love to fly.  Now we have shoe rule, the liquid rule, the knives rule, the laptop rules, and your mp3 player rules.  None of those implementations have made flying safer, and none of these things would have stopped 9/11 were they in place when it happened.  Also, I have to be at my gate 45 minutes early or I can’t board.  That is post 9/11, and no one has explained why.  So, here is my beef.   Not once have the flight attendants ever spoke up for us passengers.  MUM.

Yes, if you know me, you know I have already complained about this long ago here.  Yes, I was (and Am) correct.  Allow me to quote myself

So, why don’t the airlines even pretend to fight us?  They have lawyers and publicists and big planes.  Think of the customer loyalty an airline could score if they did an ‘open letter to our customers’ about what bullshit the TSA is… but they are working to make us safer… bla bla bla.

The flight attendants and airline industry have stood back and watched us get raped.  I never understood it.  I would think it would be more profitable for the airlines to fight for us, and they don’t.  So, right now the flight attendants need a solid for us.  They want you to call your do nothing piece of shit congressman and ask him to fix this.  Listen, I get it.  They simply want to be safe.  they do a brutal and thankless job for a society that is fatter and less polite every day.  If you know me, you know I am ridiculously pleasant and polite to 100% of the people I deal with.  Always.  Flight attendants are no exception.  Each one I root for and support.  As a union and a group, though, they make it tough. I want to root for them.  I really do.  Sorry, Flight Attendants.  Go Fuck Yourselves.