Wednesday, September 26, 2012

United Airlines, For Once, PLEASE Pleasantly Surprise Me?

Somehow, considering how much I do not like to fly, I end up flying a lot.  Not like to fly?  Am I afraid that I will crash?  No, not afraid of that.  I am more afraid of the total flight experience.  Here are my top 10 flying peeves:

1.  Packing and not knowing whether I'm best off to cram it in the carry on or pack the big bag.
2.  Getting to the airport early.
3.  Magically Disappearing Seats.
4.  Have my luggage disappear.
5.  Getting delayed.
6.  Getting bumped.
7.  Getting rerouted.
8.  Waiting and knowing how the other half lives.
9.  Trapped in my middle seat.
10. Annoying, rude passengers that their momma's should have taught better.

1.  Let's begin with number 1, the packing.  Sometimes there is a fee for checking.  Sometimes there is a fee for carry on.  Sometimes you sit with your knees in your face because other people have brought on enough carry ons for a traveling sideshow.  If I carry on, I know where my luggage is.  If I carry on, I know where my luggage is because I am lugging it around and racing with it to my connecting flight.

2.  I also hate spending as much time waiting around airports as the length of my total flying time.  Seriously, if you fly from the Bay Area to LA, you could spend more time hanging at the airport and flying than driving in your car.

3.  Seats.  How many times have we booked our family of 5 for a trip, including young children, to arrive at the airport and have our seats magically disappear?  Even if they are on the reservation and the boarding pass, it never fails that my youngest daughter is seated in the middle seat between two men. I am also sitting in the middle seat between two men who have the manners of monkeys, so I am in no position to barter seats or switch.

4.  Our luggage regularly disappears.  We always find it again, but in those gray moments of not having boots and warm coats in minus 20 degree weather, I have been a doubter.  My fondest memories are not composed of late nights in a 24 hour chain department store/supermarket buying toothpaste and underwear after a long day of travel.

5.  Delayed.  Do I need to say more?

6.  Bumped.  When you bump a family of 5 in December right before the holidays, it is very hard to rebook them.  I love spending my days in an airport, waiting.

7.  Rerouted.  Almost more fun than being bumped.  Who doesn't want to be flying into Sacramento instead of San Francisco?  The 3 hour drive at 2 in the morning doesn't even equal 5 hours of sleep when you get home.

8.  Worse yet, I've found that when I travel without my bonus card-carrying, travel-pro husband, I am screwed.  I know there are cocktails and snacks behind that lounge door.  I know that there is priority boarding, business class champagne and a special S.O.S. number for when 1-10 happens to you.  Darn.  Wish I didn't even know about the perks sometimes, especially when I am waiting in the longest lines I have ever seen.

9.  Middle seat, I love you when I am traveling with my family.  I curse you when I sit next to the grouchy man who refuses to turn his ipad off when we are taxiing to the runway.  I use to be a teacher.  I am not afraid of you grouchy man.  Yes, I did just tell you to turn that thing off!  Why do you need a parent when you are clearly over 50?

10. And that middle seat story just flows over into annoying passengers.  These are the entitled ones.  Were they football players in high school?  Cheerleaders?  I don't know, but if you are in coach, you are in coach.  Be nice.  Help people with their bags.  Smile, don't be too chatty, but at least be quietly friendly for goodness sake.  Grouchy people make this world a little less fun for the rest of us.

Tomorrow I fly with United, again.  I fly with United often.  Lately, it is never very good.  I hope tomorrow I am pleasantly surprised.  That is a post for tomorrow.

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