I simply adore flying. I love the clean, crisp smell when you enter any airport, the friendly greetings you get from airline personnel, the welcoming, “thanks for your business” attitude that pervades every interaction. I, for one, feel so much safer having spent 45 minutes in an airport security line knowing almost no one will have over 3 ounces of liquid in one container on any plane I board. Because I fit a very definitive profile (I am a slightly fluffy, 54 year old Midwestern mom type) I almost always get pulled aside, patted, wanded and groped. On my most recent trip, I can highly recommend the pat down services at the St. Maarten airport. Girlfriend was very thorough, including asking me to spread my legs and touching my boobs with the back of her hand. Thanks for doing this in front of fellow passengers, as well, fulfilling one of my treasured fantasies! I told her “Wow, this is the most attention I have gotten all week!” Hubs and audience laughed immediately, security agent did not.
I also like knowing that special attention and handling goes into caring for my belongings while they are being transported by airline personnel. I love watching the “kid glove” service baggage handlers exhibit, managing everything with such delicacy and obvious pride in their jobs. Most recently I saw a box with “This Side Up” going up the conveyor belt, but alas, the saying must have been mistakenly printed on the SIDE of the box. Good catch, baggage handlers! Rain, snow, monsoon, it doesn’t matter, you can rest assured that some of your luggage is piled up and waiting on the tarmac to be loaded onto your aircraft.
I also love the chance to bond with fellow passengers… the frenetic energy of the boarding process, with everyone jostling to get onboard first because, well, I am not sure why… the tricks and subterfuge used to board before your actual boarding group, putting small purses and backpacks in the overhead bins (when specifically directed by airline personnel to store small items under the seats) so that there is no room for carryon luggage. And speaking of luggage, I really don’t think anything is too big to try and stuff up above, do you?
It’s so much fun to uncover the treasures left by fellow passengers in your seat pouch or the floor around you. One can never have too many chewed up gum wads, used tissues and half eaten snacks! It is also exciting to discover what is broken in you personal ample space. Will it be the seatback? Tray? Armrest? Window shade? Seatbelt? It’s always a surprise!
And fellow travelers, I love having your head in my lap, it is a very special way of getting to know each other. And please tell me your life stories, your hopes and dreams, and where you went to preschool. As always, hygiene and/or deodorant is optional. Also, I’ll pass along a money saving tip. You can travel with your baby on your lap! You won’t have to pay for an extra seat or use a pesky car seat to restrain him in case of a sudden air pocket drop or any type of emergency. He’ll be FINE…
Yes, airline personnel love their jobs, and it shows! Through their caring attitudes, customer service expertise and genuine friendliness, you know you will be well looked after throughout your journey. If you have a question or concern, just ask a flight attendant. “I am worried, since the plane was 1 1/2 hours late leaving, can you check on my connection?” “Almost everyone else on this plane has connections, too, you know.” “Okay, thanks!”
I don’t want to let everyone in on the secret, but my favorite airline is US Air. Their amazing combination of customer service, on time record and general friendly and caring attitude for you, your schedule and your belongings simply cannot be duplicated by any other airline. Trust me.