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It’s all changed. It wasn’t what it once was. You don’t even get free nuts anymore. (Insert punch line here.) After a recent airplane trip last week, I jotted down a few notes.

The Boarding Process.

– The announcement goes something like this. “We will now board those in first class and those with elite super flyer privileges because they pay us a bunch of money to fly.”

I guess I can understand, because first class passengers pay a premium for the seats and thus deserve the right to board first. In addition, they get the added benefit of sitting smugly with a look that says, “Yeah I’m in first class and you’re not,” as they watch the rest of us struggle down the aisle.

Do you ever check out the first class passengers and see if someone famous is on the flight? Yeah you do. I know I do.

– Well, after a pre-conceived notion that the ensuing boarding ritual is random, without rhyme or reason, research reveals this is a rather well planned process. This just says that despite how much planning is involved, nobody is prepared for what happens when they board. Airplane flight boarding is one of the most awkward experiences known to those with enough money for a ticket.

However, I found a site that explains the theory of the boarding process. You might find it interesting.

– Whatever the process, it still doesn’t seem to stop people from banging suitcases on the shoulders of those already seated as they proceed to their own seats. Here’s why. Interesting Fact: The average aisle on an airplane is 17 inches wide.

Hahaha. You funny guy, Jeff.
I am not lying this time, 17 inches.
So if I break a yardstick in half, the airplane aisle is even smaller?
Assuming you can break a yardstick in half, yes.

In Flight Observations

– Remember when you used to get a meal included in the price of your airline ticket? If you do, then you remember when cassette players were the preferred form of audio entertainment.

– Speaking of audio entertainment, do the airlines still use the same cheesy headphones from the 70’s? I guess they have to or people would rip them off. Never mind that one.

– The seat size in coach is 17-19 inches wide. (Yeah, I meticulously researched this.) The seat reclines I would guess two to three inches max. I am always struggling for leg room and while I don’t begrudge the person in front of me from their inalienable right to recline according to the Ninth Amendment to the Constitution, I do get a tad aggravated when they keep pushing back again and again and again. Folks, it’s an airplane seat and while they tell us it will serve as a floatation devise in event of an emergency, it will NOT turn magically in a Lazy Boy recliner.

– Aisle seats afford more leg room , but while a window seat will crunch you, the sights may also include:

The perfect symmetry of farm fields in America’s heartland.
Seeing the shadow of the plane you are flying on the clouds below you.
Observing the urban landscape below from the air above.
The sparse illumination of small towns and the bright lights of the big cities.

– The plane lands. 75% of the passengers instantly stand, knowing full well it will be a good five minutes or more before they are able to begin the actual exit process. Yet they stand, hunched under the overhead compartments, rudely reaching right in front of your face for overhead bags who’s contents may have shifted in flight we are told. Are they aware of the risks they are taking?

So here’s to the airlines. Despite all the hardships, you still can’t beat getting to LA from Chicago in four hours.