Monday, June 30, 2008

Now Boarding Rows 11-44

Fly the Friendly Skies
We Love to Fly and it Shows

Does anybody know of any other airline jingles? I would love to have a collection of jingles from the good old days of happy flying.

Those days are not actually that long ago, although it seems much longer. I took my first flight less than 20 years ago. I loved it. The attendants were plentiful and friendly. You could stuff a large body into the overhead compartment if you wished. The attendant would offer a wide variety of magazines before takeoff. After takeoff, food was served. Hot dinners!!!! Perhaps James Beard (o.k. Bobby Flay – I hate to date myself) would have been displeased with the entrée, but what an adventure to pull down that tray, and have a happy little compartmentalized dinner served. And if there had been any delay or other annoyance on your flight, you would get a complementary adult beverage. After the meal had been whisked away, blankets and pillows would be proffered. A movie would then be shown with free headphones. Ahhh,well. No more.

I am going to San Francisco soon. My husband made flight reservations back in January. The flight times have been changed several times since then. Yesterday, the flight number had been changed. Apparently that gives the airline the right to mess with one’s reservations. My husband discovered that he had been moved elsewhere on the plane, away from his wife and child. My husband called an airline representative, located somewhere in India, to be told that something could open up, if not, he could ask another passenger to trade seats with him. Didn’t this use to be the domain of the flight attendant. Wouldn’t they cheerfully approach a passenger & ask if they wouldn’t mind moving to another seat. The passenger, after being asked so gently, and being generally content with flying, would quickly offer up his or her seat. Now, by the time they are seated, they are generally angry with the airline & a request from a fellow passenger would push them over an invisible line. The passenger would burrow further into their “assigned” seat with a hostile glare.

These are the days of do-it-your-own-darn-self flying. No one is behind the counter anymore to assist you when checking in. There are self-reservations, self check-in, self food provisions. Perhaps if one’s plane is plummeting to the earth, you can have self-oxygen (after you pay $25.00 dollars for the mask). They only time you are not on your own is when you and your bags are being inspected. Then you make some close “friends”.

Should I take quarters for the lavatory?

My five-plus-hour flight begins after compacting my clothes into a smaller than necessary carry-on (check a bag? Are you kidding?) a four-hour drive to the airport (a flight from the local airport is prohibitively expensive), an hour-and-a-half loitering at the airport rummaging through bookstalls and an attempt to scrounge up some food for our flight. I’m gonna be right jolly at boarding time.

It is hard to believe that air travel has sunk to this level in less than a generation. Will there be any airlines ten years from now? Is it time to look for vacation destinations closer to home? Boy, am I lucky that New York City is only five hours away!

What are your vacation plans? Do they involve air travel? Is the price of gas keeping you close to home?

Blanket and pillow anyone?

1 comment:

self taught artist said...

of course now i can't think of any diddies after reading the two you wrote.

good for you, a trip to san fran
hey go to that masonic temple and look at emile's glass mosiac thing he did eh?

have fun, providing you actually get there :)