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A thank you letter to American Airlines

December 12, 2012 1 comment

As you all know, I love guest posts!  Today’s guest post is from Amy at Adventures in Babysitting…Men.  She’s awesome and everybody should read her blog or follow her on Twitter.

Dear American Airlines,

I’d like to thank you for your handling of my canceled and rescheduled flights due to the December 26th snowstorm that hit the Eastern coast.

First, you were so considerate in calling me at 5:00AM Dec 26th to tell me that my 1:20PM direct flight from Tampa to JFK was canceled and that you re-booked me on a 1:45PM flight to LGA that would take me through the beautiful city of Miami.  Very generous of you to send me to a city I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting in many, many years.

I would also like to thank you for so politely telling me at the airport that I am not able to check-in for my 1:45PM flight more than 24-hours in advance, when I just assumed that my newly rescheduled itinerary should also be for Sunday, December 26th and not in fact for Monday, December 27th.  Silly me.  Why on earth would I assume that when you proceeded to tell me of the new flight numbers and the new airports, but not the new day/date?  That’s what happens when you “assume” something.  I need not remind myself of that saying about assuming something.

I’d like to thank you for your updates on Monday, telling me that all flights were a go and for a speedy and on-time flight from Tampa to Miami.

I’d like to thank you for sending my boyfriend update notifications/flight trackers, so that he could text me when I landed in Miami to let me know that my flight to New York’s LGA was canceled.  Thank you for keeping him, and therefore me, in the loop.

I’d like to thank you for your rebooking agents.  After spending nearly two hours in line, it was such a warm welcome I received from your rebooking agent…in Spanish.  I apologize for not being fluent in Spanish and making that agent then speak to me in English.  That was entirely my fault.  I should have paid better attention in the nearly 11 years I studied Spanish from 6thgrade through college.  I mean, I must be some kind of idiot to have studied for that long and still not be able to speak fluently.  Once again, totally my fault.

I’d like to thank your bilingual booking agent for putting me on the standby list.  Being alone in the Miami airport, it was nice to be among nearly 250 trying to get back to NY.  There was a nice camaraderie among us all as we eagerly waited to see if we were on the first flight out to LGA at 6:45AM.  We all shared a special bond of staying overnight in the freezing cold Miami airport (I completely understand that the airport temperature was beyond your control).

I’d like to thank you for the patience of your gate agents as they had to repeatedly tell those waiting on standby to “sit down and to keep the area in front of the desks clear for passengers with confirmed seats.”  I really felt for those hard-working agents.

I’d like to thank your agents for making me chuckle.  While waiting to see if I made the 7:45AM flight, it was amusing to see that your agents at that gate failed to let the waiting crowd know that the flight was indeed closed and that they should proceed to the gate of the next departing flight.  Why was this amusing?  It was just funny to see your gate agents act as though everything (loading the plane with standby passengers) was still occurring, when in fact, the plane had already pulled back from the jetway.

I’d like to thank you for getting me on the third flight out of Miami to LGA on Tuesday late morning.  Truly, I really genuinely appreciate that.

But most of all, I’d like to thank you for storing my baggage for a full week, free of charge.  I could only imagine what that would have cost me if I had arranged for my baggage to stay somewhere else in NYC for 7 days.  Real estate, including storage rentals, is not cheap in NYC.  That was very generous of you, but perhaps I should be thanking LaGuardia Airport for keeping my bag safe and sound for so long.

All in all, what an immense pleasure it was to fly with you this holiday season.  I can only hope my next flying experience will be equally as gratifying.  But I sincerely doubt anything can live up to that standard.

Best,
Amy

What is the worst instrument you could play in an airport?*

December 10, 2012 6 comments

I was sitting in the airport one day recently, very stressed due to a delayed flight and trying desperately to calm myself down with a combination of overpriced snacks and tawdry magazines (the airport is the best place to catch up on the odds for when Brad and Angelina will get divorced). All of a sudden I hear the strumming of a stringed instrument.  At first I looked up—this airport has never had any sound system except the incredibly loud instructions for flights nowhere near you for places you’d rather be going to—but that didn’t seem to be where the sound was coming from.  And then the “music” started.  I’ll be damned—it was a ukulele.  A uku-fucking-lele.  I got up immediately, sensing my good fortune to have something to write about and walked over.  Yes, there it was, some hippie deciding that he was helping the world out by providing us with his special brand of Hawaiian-inspired music.  He did a little ukulele version of “Stairway to Heaven”, which, in a different situation, may have inspired me to put a dollar in his bucket.  To be perfectly honest, I almost went and threw a dollar in his carry on to tell him to shut the fuck up but I didn’t think it would work and I’m pretty attached to those dollars.

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Just strumming away on my tiny instrument (innuendo intended)

The group around him looked like a lynch mob.  This idiot was strumming away on his stupid little instrument as the whole group stared and glared at him. The atmosphere was starting to get mean.  I was happily smiling to myself knowing that the story would only improve if someone grabbed that ukelele and smashed it rock star style (even better if it was a midget).

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Honestly, who doesn’t want to do this?

Just when the mood got extra nasty, boarding started.  The hippie woefully put away his instrument and it was all over.

Note to travelers: Even if you play a musical instrument wonderfully, nobody in the airport waiting area wants to hear it.  If you are John Lennon, Elvis, Sid Vicious, and Ronnie James Dio (now tell me that wouldn’t be a hellava concert), the airport STILL isn’t the place for it.  In the airport, it all just becomes obnoxious noise.  There is a reason that they are against the rules of almost every type of public transportation—maybe it’s music to you but to everyone else it’s just noise.  Keep the instrument closed and put away until you get to the street corner of your choice.

*Honestly I think an accordion might be slightly worse.

My advice for first-time flyers

October 13, 2012 1 comment

I know everybody has to travel for the first time, sometime.  And I also realize that I’ve been flying since I was 2 months old.  But, first-time flyers, maybe reading up on what you have to do to fly would help.  So let me help you out.

1.  Look, people, you haven’t been able to bring liquids onto the plane in a really long time.  So when TSA has to stop everybody and divest you of an entire store’s worth of hygiene products, as well as a 6-pack of Coke, it’s really freakin’ annoying. DO pack tiny liquids into a clear bag.  DON’T bring anything else, jackass.

2.  You will have to take your shoes off.  There are no seats.  If this is a problem, wear slip-on shoes.  If you slow down the line as you slowly unlace and take off your shoes, people will want to shoot you. DO wear shoes you can remove.  DON’T grab a stranger for balance.

3.  Turbulence is not that big of a deal.  DO be calm.  DON’T shriek like a banshee every time the plane dips.

4.  Airplanes make strange noises.  It is way less likely that they will crash than that your seatmate will bludgeon you for screaming every time the wheels creak. DO get some Valium.  DON’T scream unless the plane actually starts to crash.

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Drug yourself, if need be. Everybody thanks you.

 

5.  DO pack yourself a light snack. DON’T pack a lunch of things that smell.  Nobody wants to have to smell your tuna sandwich.

6.  DO bring a suitcase you can handle on your own.  DON’T bring something you can’t lift above your head and will have to nag everyone to help you with.

7.  DO bring something to amuse yourself with.  DON’T bother your seatmate if they put on earphones or opens a book.  Shut up.

8.  If you know you are going to have to pee constantly, DO get an aisle seat.  It’s annoying to have to get up constantly to let you out.  DON’T get up and down constantly and please don’t shove your ass into your neighbors face every time you get up.

9.  If you want to watch the scenery, DO get a window seat,  DON’T lean across the poor bastard sitting next to you.

10.  If you have 4 poorly behaved children DO drive. DON’T fly.

11.  If you weigh 400 lbs DO get two seats.  DON’T sit next to me.

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Yep, don’t want to sit next to these two.

 

Anybody have anything else to add?  This is not a comprehensive list.

I love guest posters!

September 10, 2012 Leave a comment

So you want to write a guest post!

I want guest posters!  If you are snarky or if you have a great flying story, I want you.  I can link to your blog if you want publicity or, if you want anonomity and just to rant, that is fine too!

Places I particularly want guest posts:

1.  Everybody hates you.  Keep it short and sweet but we all know the people that everybody hates.

2.  Food reviews.  Either airport food or airplane food.  Review it, take a picture of it, ideally take a picture of the description, and email it to me!  You know you have funny things to say about that terrible food you eat on planes or get stuck paying $15 for at airports.

3.  A whole post.  Whatever you have to write about.  Something that happened to you, something you hate, a top ten list, whatever you have in you.

 

Send me your ideas!  talesfromthemiddleseat@gmail.com

 

Children with squeaky shoes or Heelies: Everybody hates you

September 10, 2012 Leave a comment

Parents who let their kids wear those horrible shoes that squeak like dog toys or those awful, awful Heelies (shoes that turn in to skates) in the airport.  People, the audience at an airport are similar to those at a hospital.  People are stressed.  They are pissed. They just want to get where they are going with the least trouble possible.  They are not in love with your child.  And that squeak squeak squeak just makes everybody want to murder your kid.  Never mind that almost every child loves jumping up in down in them so it’s squeaksqueaksqueaksqueak.  I don’t even like it when my DOG plays with squeak toys and I love my dog.  I don’t give a flying fuck about your kid.

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Heelies: The ultimate evil

And those skates….roller skates are for places that are appropriate to have wheels on your feet.  In what  universe does that include the airport?  I want to trip your kid.  And I don’t have many social niceties, so if I can move my bag right in his way?  Whoops!  Honestly, when your kid wipes out and I laugh, I’m not in the wrong.  Feel free to glare but it isn’t going to bother me.

Leave these shoes at home.  Or, better yet, burn them.

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This is what would happen if I was Carrie. Those shoes would be melted piles of goo.

Honestly, I hate YOU, parents who buy these monstrosities for their kids.  It’s not like the kid went in with money they drew on some scratch paper.  You bought these, you picked them for the airport, you are the jackass.  I would hope you missed your plane but that would make me stuck with you for longer, so I hope you get to Disney and can’t get a Fast Pass or whatever parents worry about.

Lap babies: Everybody hates you

June 30, 2012 12 comments

This is going to be my first post in a new series called “Everybody hates you”.  I can think of a lot of categories of travelers that everybody hates so I have a lot of material.  This is just going to be a  short rant.  I’m sure you do too (guest post!).  I’m going to start with my very most hated person on the plane–the jackass with the lap baby.

Airplane tickets can be expensive so you think “Hey, I’ll save some money, why worry about safety and the comfort of others, I’ll just sit with Jr. on my lap!”.  And now you are the ass with the lap baby.  Let’s not be concerned about the fact that, with turbulence, your child is now a projectile.  Believe me, out of all the ways I can think of to die, being beaned with a flying infant falls just before megacolon in embarassment factor (for the record, megacolon is a real thing and don’t look it up–just don’t).

This is how it looks in my head

But your kid is active and doesn’t want to sit on your lap.  They want to kick.  They want to touch the poor stranger sitting next to you.  And a two-year-old is WAY too old for your freakin’ lap for a whole flight.  As you struggle to contain the child, their toys, and your drink, you will end up spilling them all on me.  And I am full of rage and hate for you and everybody else is too.  So spend the money, you cheapass, and get a ticket for your kid.    And if you are lying about Jr.’s age so you don’t have to pay for a ticket you are an extra huge jerk.

Further reading:

The people quoted on this page are my biggest nightmare.  Believe me, I’m not going to entertain your kid.

And I thought this article was super interesting: http://www.consumertraveler.com/today/big-babies-on-planes-%E2%80%94-should-airlines-require-proof-of-age/

Footie pajamas?

April 21, 2012 1 comment

I was in Reagan airport in DC when I noticed a woman in footie pajamas.

This confounded me for a number of reasons.

1.  Why would an adult even own footie pajamas?  Sure, I loved them when I was 5 but as an adult…personally, I don’t like getting naked every time I have to pee.

2.  Airport floors are gross.  How dirty must the feet of those things have been at the end of the trip?

3.  Security makes you take off your shoes.  Do those count?  If so, what did she do?  And if not, I think they should.  She could have shoved tiny bombs in there, you know.  In fact, I think wearing footie pajamas as an adult is pretty suspicious behavior.  She probably needed the enhanced pat down.

Sitting next to The Blob

April 21, 2012 26 comments

You know the saying “Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose”?  I feel similarly about the morbidly obese on planes.  Your right to be fat ends when I can’t put the armrest down.

Everybody knows that when two types of people come down the aisle, everybody prays they aren’t sitting next to them.  The first one is babies/kids–espacially ones who are crying.  The second are extremely fat people.  The people who can’t even walk down the aisles without turning sideways.  If you weigh 400 lbs and board a plane, we all know that everybody is hoping you aren’t sitting next to them.

I’ve always said that if another passenger asked me if I minded if we left the armrests up I would answer “absolutely”.  But readers, I failed.  I failed epically.

It has already been a long day of flying.  I always try to get direct flights but sometimes it doesn’t happen, so I had a connection and had been in airports for the majority of the day.  I was already tired.  I get on the plane and shuffle to my seat.

Uh oh.

I’m small.  The girl in the aisle seat is small.  The woman in the middle?  Not small.  Not even large.  Giant.  Enormous.  Spilling over  into the other two seats.  I was sitting next to the Blob.  Look, you know if your ass can’t fit into a normal seat.  You have to.

Obese people, I know it must suck to fly.  And, yes, the seats have gotten smaller and closer together, but that’s not a recent thing.   You either need to fly first-class or get two seats.  And if you refuse (and I think that makes you a jerk) at least get the window seat so you can kinda wedge yourself in.  Not the freakin’ middle.

There was no way in hell that she could put the armrests down.  So she didn’t.  And she took up at least half of my seat and half of the aisle-girl’s seat.  The Blob took up at least 2 full seats when all was said and done.  I was smashed against the window.  I tried to get away from her as much as I could but it was impossible.  Every time I moved over her fat shifted to fill the space.  I think that if both aisle-girl and I stood up, Blob would have stretched over all three seats.

It was a nightmarish flight.  I don’t like being touched by strangers and she was smashing me into the wall.  Her entire side was touching my entire side.  Thank god I’m not claustrophobic.  Some of you will ask why I didn’t ask to move–the flight was packed full and I had a job interview to get to so I was stuck (both literally and figuratively).

And when she ordered a giant amount of food and soda?  Oh, I judged.  I judged a lot.  She’s probably typing right now on a Fat Acceptance forum about how the skinny girl next to her judged her food choices and she would be right–I feel like taking up half my seat opens you up to criticism.

Look, if your BMI starts with a 3, you HAVE to get two seats.  If you don’t like getting two seats, lose weight.  Drive instead of fly.  Sit in first class.  Honestly I don’t care but the answer isn’t sit in everybody’s lap or block the aisle.  It’s not discrimination to tell a blind person they can’t drive and it’s not discrimination to tell a person who can’t fit in one seat to buy two.

Watching a woman’s skirt fall off

April 18, 2012 1 comment

I actually saw a woman lose her skirt on the plane.

I was flying from DC to NY.  I was sitting next to the most obnoxious mother/daughter pair in the world and was already about ready to shoot myself–and we hadn’t even taken off yet.  A fat, frumpy New Yorker boards the plane.  As she lifted her bag into the overhead container, her skirt fell off.  All the way to the ground.  HER SKIRT FELL TOTALLY OFF.

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I looked around.  Apparently only the guy in the seat ahead of me and I saw this happen.  He seemed about ready to piss himself laughing and I just looked shocked.

She reached down, grabbed the skirt, and yanked it back up.  I think she must have recently lost weight or something (granted, she was still fat) because who’s skirt just falls right off??  I think the only reason nobody else noticed was because she was wearing black pantyhose and gigantic granny panties.

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Obviously, the hottie in the thong never loses her skirt.

Sitting next to the demon child

April 18, 2012 1 comment

I once sat next to a demon.  It was in the shape of a young child–maybe five–but it was definitely a demon.  I swear I smelled a little sulfur when the kid sat down.

I was flying back home from Orlando, where I was visiting my grandparents for the holidays.  Anyone who has ever flown either to or from Orlando knows it’s one of the worst plane rides that exist.  Usually, the plane is at least 50% children.  On the way down, the kids are excited and happy.  They can be beat into line with threats about not going to Disney or getting that princess party.  But on the way back?

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They are very, very, very unhappy.  They are overstimulated, pissed off, and no threat works.  The parents try to distract with whatever piece of crap they bought them at Epcot but it no longer matters.  I’m used to it, I’ve been through the torture of flying to and from Orlando for many years.  I thought I had seen the worst of it.

I had the window seat so I could sleep.  The seats next to me were completely empty.  I was optimistic that maybe they would stay empty.  And then a family boarded the plane.

They sit: (window) kid kid dad (aisle) mom demon me (window)

Any regular flyer would tell you that you don’t put your worst kid next to the innocent party.  That little bastard should have been shoved up against the window, with a parent next to her.  And mom knew it was going to be a disaster, as she told me when she sat down “I want to apologize in advance”.

Well, that’s sure a bad sign.

And the kid starts wiggling.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  It was like if the world’s worst stripper mated with a Mexican jumping bean.  I suspect she was trying to wiggle out of the seatbelt but I can’t be sure–it’s also possible she was having some sort of convolusions.  The whole time she’s shrieking.  We weren’t five minutes into the plane ride yet.  I looked at the kid and had a vision of her leaning over me the whole flight, so I slammed my window down.

Mom leaned over to me “Excuse me, Demon likes to look out the window.  Can you leave the screen up?”

“Nope” I said.  The screen stayed down (everyone knows that window seat controls the screen, it’s just the way it is).

At this point, Demon starts kicking the seat in front of her and shrieking with delight.  *BAM* shriek *BAM* *BAM* shriek.  Over and over and over.  I’ve never wished for noise-canceling headphone more in my life.  Or a child sized ball gag.  She is kicking the seat so hard that I can actually see the woman sitting in the seat jerk forward every time.

The mother is trying to stop her, sort of.  She’s also mostly ignoring the kid and reading her book.  Every now and then she tries to interest Demon in her Ipad.  Yes, that’s right, this five year old had an Ipad.  A FREAKIN’ IPAD!  I can’t afford an Ipad but every child in this family had one, including the two children sitting like perfect little angels on the other side of the aisle.  At this point I was actually hoping the plane crashed.  At least I’d get to slide down that inflatable slide.

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By this point Demon had been shrieking, kicking the seat in front of her, and wiggling for at least an hour, hour and a half.  I was seriously considering starting to drink but managed to refrain (mostly due to how tiny those bottles are–I always feel like a lush when I’m drinking on the plane).  At this point, Demon starts doing high kicks that would make a Dallas Cowboy’s Cheerleader faint with envy.  I am not exaggerating–Demon was almost kicking me in the head.  I was dodging feet like I was in a Jackie Chan movie.  The whole time I’m looking at the mother like “REALLY?  THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING?”.  She kept shrugging, grabbing the kid’s feet, and trying to hold them down but the kid was bucking like a bronco on speed.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  I was staring at Demon, waiting for her head to turn all the way around but, alas, she must have still been trying to pretend she was a real child.

This went on for the entire 3 hour plane ride.  THREE HOURS.

It was honestly my worst flight ever, which is saying something, as I have flown a LOT.

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This is what I remember the alleged child looking like but it’s possible I had partial memory loss during that trip.

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