Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of going to BlogHer14 in San Jose, California. It was a great experience not only because I got to collect my very first ever blogging award* but also because I learned how to do many new things such as take a selfie and work the word “niche” into 2/3rds of my sentences.
*My boss: “They have those?”
I love it.
I took an airplane to California, which should really tell you something about how much I was willing to endure to get to BlogHer and fill my Twitter feed with pictures of myself eating (drinking?) slushies. Air travel has somehow managed to become even more miserable than I remembered it being, and today because no one has ever talked about the countless inconveniences one must endure to get from here to there on an airplane, I thought I would share with you some of my observations about the state of air travel. Maybe this can become my niche.
1. No-Smoking Notifications
I am just really perplexed why the no-smoking-is-allowed-on-this-flight spiel is still given prior to takeoff. Didn’t the FAA ban smoking on flights like 20 minutes after the Wright brothers invented the airplane? Apparently we are all Don Draper and have to be reminded not to be renegades. The flight attendants might as well remind us that dog fighting is big no-no en route and that you’ll have to wait to deplane in Dallas to launder all that mafia money you’re carrying around.
2. Boarding In Sections
So now there’s this little mind game that the airlines like to play where they make you board the airplane in sections, and I would assume that the sections are assigned on a sliding pay scale where the least patient among us pay to get on the plane first. Think about that: some people will actually pay money that could otherwise be diverted over to their personal Bacon Fund* to board a vessel that they are already guaranteed a seat on. Guess you have to start somewhere if you want to climb to the arbitrary money-burning heights of a Kardashian.
*This is the epiphic moment when you realize you don’t have a Bacon Fund and I knowingly nod to you with a look of “it’s time to invest.”
3. In-Seat Video Monitors
Good news! Many aircraft now come equipped with personal video monitors where you can watch movies and television shows of your choosing or track your flight’s progress. And in keeping with the core values of the airline industry to suck the joy out of everything that could possibly be pleasurable, your own personal monitor likely will not work. Enjoy watching High School Music 9 on mute on your neighbor’s monitor.
4. Garbage Collection
My final point is a function of the smaller seat capacities that you have no doubt heard about at length from pretty much every standup comic in existence. On my latest trip, I noticed that garbage collection is now the primary job of the flight attendants. They would come along on the minute, every minute to gather stray cups, cans, wrappers, napkins, and whatever other debris the cheapskate in you refused to check, as said checking would require you taking out a second mortgage on your home. I deduced that the frequent garbage rounds are entirely necessary since the space allotted to you on your flight would make even the most disciplined Tibetan monk lose his cool. The seats are now so small that the very presence of a beverage napkin makes it impossible for a passenger to properly aspirate.
So that’s all I have for now.
What’s your biggest pet peeve about traveling?
Shout-out to all the wonderful folks I met at BlogHer14! Dawn, Kylie, Katia, Amy, Aussa, Meredith, and Michelle, it was a tremendous pleasure to meet all of you, and even if I have to get on an airplane to see you again, I will gladly do it.
If you decide to see “Non-Stop” with Liam Neeson, note that he plays an air marshal who totally lights up on the plane.
Road trips I love! Air travel I only tolerate because someone makes me go somewhere too far to drive. My biggest pet peeve with flying is the part where you’re flying. It’s unnatural and I have yet to hear a logical explanation for how the plane actually stays up in the air. But my husband, he flies multiple times a week. I think his biggest pet peeve is having grown men who fall asleep drooling on his shoulder. It happens like once a month. He nudges them off and they fall right back to using him as a human head rest. So yeah, that would be annoying. Glad you had fun though and hope all is well!
I travel a lot, so I have a few different complaints… but a hilarious thing that I saw recently was when “Airplane” and others 80s movies were featured in the “classic movies” section of the online entertainment.
My biggest thing is personal space – mostly around the arm rest. I wish I could erect a solid barrier that exactly bisects the armrest and goes all the way up to the ceiling because I don’t want you elbowing me the entire damn flight. I get my tiny bit of space and you get yours. The end.
PS – Totes jealous about getting to go to BlogHer. I already whined to Dawn about it.
If such barrier existed, I would only put it down if you, or Emily, or a small handful of other amazing women were seated next to me… my husband (who is 6’4) actually believes my foot space is his “other foot” space… go figure!
I’d put it down only to sleep on my husband’s shoulder. Maybe I’d add some holes so I could speak through the barrier to nice blogger people like you.
(I think this personal space nazi is partially the pregnancy talking, btw. TOUCH ME AND DIE.)
warning heeded. No worries. Through the barrier it is. ;-)
I have wondered about the no smoking announcements, too. Is there anyone in the entire universe who doesn’t know that you can’t smoke on planes? You can’t smoke in airports either, or anyplace else indoors, and they don’t announce that.
Congrats on the award. Well done and well deserved.
Regardless of all these ever-present niggles… I still love flying. My biggest pet peeve however is that now, most flights don’t come with meals as standard, unless it’s long-haul. My god, I love plane food. Yes, it always tastes like garbage. But it’s just so… twee. Everything in little sections! The surprise of what atrocity you’re going to be faced with! The little BISCUITS you get! If you’re lucky, maybe even a little chocolate in your teacup!
I’ve also wondered the same thing about the “no smoking” sign. Surely most of the planes these days were made well after the 90s (?) ban happened, so who on earth is STILL making the planes with the no smoking notification on them? That roof space could be used for something else more worthwhile. Like, I dunno, a sign to remind people not to be dicks and put their seats back when the person behind them has long legs so is already sitting with their knees up in their face.
It reminds me of a sign I saw in a taxi a while ago. “No eating, no drinking and no trafficking”. WHAT! Ok, eating and drinking is fairly reasonable – but trafficking is quite a big jump! It’s not like there’s a whole bunch of taxis driving around advertising that trafficking is perfectly acceptable. Surely trafficking is not something we need to be reminded that we shouldn’t be doing in a taxi… surely we’re aware that’s generally a no-no all the time? Why not stop there? Why jump from food and drink to illegal trading of humans? Why miss out theft, TWOC’ing, manslaughter, homicide, regicide…?
(I keep making a habit of writing blog-length comments on other people’s blogs. I do apologise. I need some self-control.)
Well done on your blog award! :)
[…] this article on The Waiting about the annoyances of flying got me thinking about how much I absolutely love flying, despite […]
Ha! As a P&G employee, (pack and go), I made many trips over the years and yes, they need to keep reminding, (listen up you Europeans), people to NOT sneak a smoke in the bathrooms. You would be surprised – terribly rude and annoying. Addicts – Chew your gum and wear your patches.
The problem with a nice is tht you can’t talk about whatever your heart desires, such as air travel. :)
Em, it sounds as if the trip was worth it! I hate airline travel too. It was once glamorous but they’ve cut the seats down to cram more people on the plane to help the bottom line, yada, yada, yada. It’s best to fly business or first class but alas, it is crazy expensive. Unless there’s an empty plane and a nice person behind the counter right before you get on and the airline gods smile down upon you at just the right moment, one can upgrade without cost.
But that’s rare.
The kicking the back of my seat thing–that’s one of the things that I can barely tolerate.
My biggest pet-peeve of flying: the ridiculous amount of TIME it takes. For me to travel from Tennessee to Virginia this summer on a non-stop flight took 9-10 hours which encompassed driving to the airport, checking in, waiting 1-1/2 hours (because you HAVE to arrive 2-hours early just to check-in), the flight itself (1.5 hours), and the drive to my house from the closest airport accepting non-stop flights. (If I had taken a plane that landed 1-hour closer to my house, the change of planes, etc., etc. would have extended my entire time anyways.)
To drive the whole way would have taken me 11-12 hours. I saved 1-2 hours, spent double the amount of money, but didn’t have to worry about the semi-truck driver surfing the web and texting while I passed him. I DID have to submit myself to a body scan AND a pat-down. Seriously??!
I hate flying. I hate driving more. Oh, and I’m all about the wall between seats idea Psychobabble came up with. On my flight to DC I was literally scrunched between two large men who hogged both of the entire armrests! Try flying with your own arms sucked into that small space and not get a cramp!
Glad you got to go to BlogHer14, Emily! The weather sure has been nice this week in Nashville … I’m thinking a road trip is in store for you and Wee Cee to come and see Auntie C. ;) (“Auntie” is what every Hawaiian child grows up calling all of their parents female friends. I am adopting the tradition.)
Ah yes, but in line with your #2 — can’t forget all the flights who “oversell” the seats and cannot guarantee everyone a spot. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times that happened to us on flights. how can you oversell tickets to a plane when you know very well how many seats it holds, its not like that fluctuates .
OR the ones who decide not to “assign seats” and then try to inform you who is traveling with a minor that they are going to have put one of you at the front of the plane and the other at the back (How about Heck to the NO on that one Miss flight attendant)
But my worst experience ever was waiting ON an airplane ON the tarmac for 6 hours without lifting off and then having the flight cancelled all together and being told by the airport/airlines. “Sorry, not sorry. We’ll get you another flight out of her in 3 days and OH BTW, you have to front the cost of those extra 3 days. Have fun!”
So first, I giggled just picturing all the niche conversations that must have been had. You should have told everyone you’re in the Pop Tart niche. Obvs.
Second, if my husband had been reading this blog, I’m pretty sure he would have given you a standing ovation for #2. He travels a LOT, so he is totally one of those laid-back, unperturbed travelers. He has learned. Even if he does end up in the first boarding group, half the time he is still getting a bagel or coffee, because he knows there are people losing their shit about getting on the plane first.
All in all, I don’t get annoyed by much when I fly…mostly because I’m spending all my energy keeping my anxiety at bay and filling my head with positive images of my plane landing safely until it indeed lands safely. But there is one rule I wish airlines would enforce: a mandatory deodorant law. On one of the last flights I took, I had the unfortunate luck of sitting next to someone who wasn’t using any. So my anxiety + my general proneness to icky travel sickness + someone else’s stinky armpits made for a pretty miserable flight. I don’t care how natural people want to be in their everyday lives, but just love the rest of humanity enough to at least use a little Secret before a flight. Everything else ain’t nothing some Monkees music on my ipod and perhaps some Dramamine and alcohol can’t cure.
I fly a lot, and most of these things irk me at some point or another during my travels. That said, I’m kind of with Kelly… the older I get, the more I find myself saying little mantras (let me get there safely, please let me get there safely, please) and becoming a little OCD upon boarding… I refuse to share the superstitious things I now do, to assure that my mantra works.
It was such a joy to meet you, in person, Emily… If you ever want a fun, writing get away, or a drink and chat ourselves silly get away, my guest room comes with a water view, great food, and free wifi. xo
Loved the title of this blog post. That sucked me right in…
OMG, I totally did not realize that BlogHer was in SAN JOSE. *facepalm* How do you go to BlogHer? I don’t know these things. I am very sad, because I am not that far from San Jose.
Anyway, it sounds like you had a great time, and I will probably be thinking about this list when I board my flight next week. :P
My biggest pet peeve is that they don’t serve better candy on the plane. When I asked if I could buy M&Ms or a Kit-Kat, the flight attendant told me, “We don’t sell stuff like that. I think they melt.”
I was also at BlogHer. I wish we could have met. I’ve been a reader for a while. Next time??? :)
Riding an airplane is such a chore. Agreed! I guess it can be worth it instead of a long drive, although flying takes longer than you think it does, what with the early arrival and going through security. Garbage collection is about 80% of the flight.
So great to meet you, too! I’m glad you had a great time at the convention and it was worth the air time. Next time, we will have a longer visit.
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Yes, my dear, the friendly skies experience has turned into one giant smelly Greyhound bus in the sky. I will add a couple more pet peeves to the list: First, the loud televisions blaring everywhere you go in the airport. Wouldn’t we ll be more docile if instead of CNN we got classical music? Second, they line us all up like we are going to a labor camp and then make a announcement after announcement asking us to HURRY UP. Can’t they see we are nose to neck in the aisle? If they would board from the front and the middle, maybe we could get in a little faster. I think they are trying to encourage some sort of mob violence. Wouldn’t it make more sense to board from back to front? Glad you had fun at Blog Her!
SO true and SO hilarious. I read it the day you posted and then realized (over and over again) that OMG I haven’t commented yet. Meeting you was one of the best things about BlogHer this year. As for flights? Let’s talk about the fact I am so out of the loop I had no idea they were charging us for food now. I have a condition. It’s called Fear of Not Being Able To Eat. This was traumatizing. Also, on flight entertainment: Dear Air Canada, please consider not offering the movie Gravity as part of your on flight “entertainment” package. I was not entertained. #survivor
Hysterical! For me – it’s the OTHER PASSENGERS! More specifically, I guess the snacks that other passengers bring WITH them… On a transatlantic flight a few years ago I had the pleasure of sitting next to someone who thought it would be a great idea to eat spicy sausage, tuna dip and some kind of sharp yogurt with little green balls in it? Regardless, the 13 hours in a tiny seat next to THAT changed the way I pack for travel.. I carry a little ziplock bag with a few coffee beans in it and a hefty pack of strong mints like Altoids, so if something is making me particularly gaggy (aka homegirl’s snack packs), I have something to cleanse my nostrils!
This was very funny. Thankfully, you are too young to remember the not-so-distant past when airplanes did have designated “smoking aisles,” separated from the rest of us by flimsy curtains that would be snapped shut just as soon as the seat belt sign was turned off. And by “shut” I mean drawn across a string until the two sides met, the sole function being to prevent smokers and vibrant, healthy people from seeing each other. But not from actually breathing each other’s canned, recirculating air. Horrific. And, I’m not that old. Also, rejoice that you were not Mike Rowe on this flight: https://www.facebook.com/TheRealMikeRowe/posts/813053605371451 Congratulations for the award!!!
Now I remember so clearly why I don’t fly anymore! On top of random planes being shot out of the sky during civil wars!
Why is it that the stranger sitting next to you thinks he can lean on your arm rest because he weighs sixty pounds more than you? You want to stretch out, buy another seat!