With all the news about people getting dragged down the aisles of airplanes, I thought I would relate a few stories that have occurred to me over my many years of flying.
I must admit that I have rarely had a problem with the hundreds of flights I have taken in my life, and the flight attendants have generally been very helpful and professional. In the few times a flight has been delayed, it has most often been because of a mechanical issue and I would always prefer to be on the ground when the plane is not in proper running order.
When I first started flying, the biggest issue was turbulence and I can remember bouncing up and down on flights to Pittsburgh or Washington, DC. On one flight to Pittsburgh, a lady in front of me told the flight attendant that this was her first flight and she hoped it was a smooth ride. Well, you guessed it, the flight was one of the roughest flights in my life and the poor lady was terrified. The plane was shaking and dropping and the flight attendants had a look of sheer terror on their faces. After we landed, the lady was visibly upset and I doubt that she ever set foot in a plane again. While the turbulence was generally on smaller, propeller driven planes, I remember one flight from Cleveland to Pittsburgh on a larger USAir plane when I truly worried that the wings were going to snap off the plane.
Lost baggage is another issue that is often associated with flying and on a few occasions, I have had some interesting experiences. On a Habitat for Humanity trip to Poland several years ago, I was putting my tickets in order and accidently threw away the luggage receipts on a layover in London. Usually, it wasn’t critical to keep these receipts but as I approached the gate for the flight to Poland, the gate agent said that they needed to see our luggage receipts to clear Polish customs. I dug through my pockets and could not locate the receipts and spent the next four days waiting for my bags to be shipped while I had to wear the same clothes and buy toiletries at a local drug store.
One of my constant problems flying is the decreasing amount of legroom on almost all airlines. Being six foot four, I can barely fit into the seat and when the person in front of me reclines their seat, it makes the flight unbearable. I thought I had a good system worked out several years ago when I told the flight attendant that I needed extra legroom because I had surgery on my knee. My little white lie backfired on me when she said that she had an exit row seat available but she couldn’t give me that seat since I had to be physically able to help in case of an emergency. I could have cried!
Believe it or not, flying First or Business Class has been one of my bigger problems when flying. It is not the quality of service in the upgraded class, but rather having to fly coach after getting to see the luxury available just a few seats closer to the front of the plane. On one flight to South Korea, I was flying Business Class and it was one of the best flights of my life. We were given slippers and eye shades along with a warm wash cloth several times on the flight. The seats were big and comfy and reclined to form a bed that was surprisingly comfortable. As I feel like a sardine on many flights, I remember back to the luxury of Business Class and wish that I could somehow never fly coach again.
While the airlines are taking a lot of heat right now, they do an Amazing job getting millions of people to their destinations each day. The safety of air travel is one of the feats of modern aviation and I thank everyone who is involved in getting me and my family safely to our destinations. AMAZING!