Thursday, March 31, 2016

Flying the friendly skies, uh, not-so-much

Have you flown the not-so-friendly skies lately? 
typical long lines in Denver

Vigilant Detroit TSA agents recently tipped off authorities that a pilot coming through security seemed under the influence of alcohol. The American Airlines employee was arrested, which should have made everybody feel a lot safer. 

Drunk passengers are no joke either and prohibited from boarding aircraft. Back in my Continental Airlines days a Hawaii-bound passenger was so drunk he passed out in the boarding area. Knowing what a nightmare he might cause six miles above the earth for eight hours we decided to let him sleep it off. When he awoke after departure we rebooked him and sent him off to the hotel shuttle.

I can only complain about Frontier Airlines. (Which tells you that I am as cheap as they are, or I wouldn't be flying with them.)  Agents pulled people out of line whose bags were too big and make them pay on the spot. My "personal item" just met the allowed limits. Worried, I brought my own tape to prove it. Watching what other grandmas and college kids boarded with, I quit worrying. Sling the "personal item" on your back and they don't seem so concerned. 

Frontier's shrinking tray table

The only thing still free during Frontier flights is the restroom. My husband thinks they'll be coin-operated soon. Not having a plane full of people with beverage glasses on their teeny-tiny tray tables was a good thing when we hit a pocket of turbulence. No reassuring word from the crew.

The plane pitched and dropped significantly. First time it heaved everyone gasped. Next time it got really quiet. Not even the babies cried.  I hung onto the seat in front of me and closed my eyes. The young woman behind me started to cry. A youngster further back waited until things smoothed out then her small voice carried over several rows. "That was scary." A calm adult responded that when you go to an amusement park you have to pay for that kind of ride. Well, I don't go to amusement parks because that's not my kind of fun anymore. So that makes the second free thing on Frontier--thrills. 

There was one friendly moment, however. Before take-off the young man across the aisle from us eyed the empty window seat next to me. He asked my husband if he could take it. Bill said sure and the ADD firefighter on leave for PTSD moved into it. (He gave us a quick bio as soon as he fastened his seat belt.) 

I'm the kind of flyer who pretends the person next to me is invisible. But this guy was so excited to ignore him would have been as mean as pouring water on somebody's birthday piñata. He showed me photos of his daughter playing in the ocean and lovely photos of the sunset he could see from the window. Eventually he amused himself on his phone and I powered up my iPad. 

 I might try being friendly again. Somebody has to be. 

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