Saturday, May 02, 2009

Random thoughts and observations about traveling by air.

- The people who run airports seem to be under the impression that every single person waiting for an airplane must be able to see and/or listen to CNN, usually at a very high volume. They do not seem to think that a “quiet space” might be necessary. As a result, during my trip, I was continually “informed”, at each and every stage of my journey, about the swine flu (OMG, WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!) and Miss California’s breast implants.

- The 757-300 is a very long airplane. Let me repeat, very long. In fact, it is the longest single aisle airplane in commercial service. If you are, perchance, sitting in the very last row, it takes an exceedingly long time to exit the airplane. Let me repeat, an EXCEEDINGLY long time. On the other hand, there is a good chance you might have an empty seat next to you, even on a full airplane, as it appears that no one really likes sitting there.

- Tall, overweight, doughy looking white guys, no matter how passionate they might be about the college athletic teams they are supporting, are not very fashionable in the best of circumstances but certainly not when decked out in their college sports apparal. In fact, they look pretty damn stupid. Vivid displays of college affiliations may work really well at, say, an actual football or basketball game, but they do not work when out in the general public. Really garish colors, say orange and purple, make the entire presentation almost unbearable. Under no circumstances should doughy white guys ever wear college sports apparel.

- It is a useless task to try to listen to classical music on an airplane. Almost every aspect of a symphony orchestra is drowned out by the “white noise” (really damn loud white noise) associated with an airplane in flight. You cannot hear anything done at a subdued volume or low frequency, including most everything done by the string section, the bassoons, the oboes, etc. On the other hand, you really get to hear certain aspects of the music done by instruments like the timpani, the brass section, etc. I imagine a good classical selection for airplane travel might be the 1812 Overture.

- There will always be a certain type of person who sits somewhere in your near vicinity. This type of person has the unfortunate ability to talk about anything and everything, in great detail and at a loud volume. It doesn’t really matter to them whether or not they have an attentive audience or not. The presence of a someone not asleep is enough for them to share their wisdom and observations with everyone else. Sort of like a blog, but without the selective audience.

- Every time I fly coach instead of first class (which is always), I am reminded that all the people in steerage on the Titanic were the ones that didn’t get in the lifeboats and subsequently drowned. Not that I am ever expecting an airplane crash into the water where life rafts are necessary (but given what happened in NYC last month, the chances appear to be greater than zero), but I just find the existence of first class passengers, along with their “first class only” restrooms and dedicated line to get on the airplane, annoying. I don’t mind that many people and companies have the money to spend on first class tickets. I just think that if I am stuck in steerage… I mean coach, that everyone should have to sit there as well.

Picture from RR Picture Archives.

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