The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Enough Dilly-Dallying - I've Decided to Start my Own Airline

by Melissa Bell

Hi everyone,
Boy oh boy what a big steaming ball of pre-travel nerves I was the last you heard from me, huh? Thank goodness they have no restrictions on Air Canada regarding serving alcohol before noon because by the time I boarded I was ready to use somebody's dangling body parts as a luggage tag. However, seeing how it's only a matter of time before we probably see the 9:00 am Bloody Mary go the way of the free peanuts and the pillows, I plan to take advantage of getting a chance to booze it up in the early morning for as long as I'm able. Because good grief - that in-flight service really does suck.

But never let's even mind with the flight itself just yet. Why does airport signage stink so much? I couldn't believe the number of tiny little messages I encountered here and there, exhibiting dire warnings - all of them - but by the time you would read such dire warnings it was already too late. You'd be halfway through the check-in line before you realized that only "Lockerman X"-approved luggage locks were allowed or that you were only allowed to board with a half-full bladder so that any full-bladder boarding was subject to a surcharge, etc. etc. I'm only mildly exaggerating on the bladder stuff.

My dad used to say to me "Any flight you can walk away from is a good flight, Missy." And I suppose he's right. But gee whiz, how far away are we from actually having to wipe down our own tray tables? I didn't even see any vomit bags in the seat pockets. And the EnRoute magazine looked like it had been repurposed at least twice before it found it's way back to 25F. I remember when those things were always fresh. Now it feels like I'm waiting for an internal exam at Dr. Green's office where the Canadian Living Magazines hail from the second millennium and Brad is still happily married to Jennifer.

The laminated card that was supposed to nicely outline how to get myself out of jam should a jam be encountered? Forget it. I don't know who draws those things up to be all international-ly and everything, but I spent at least 15 minutes trying to figure out whether if I sat close to the emergency exit I was supposed to open the door and go first, or start shoving people down the chute with my foot and then follow. Damn, it never was like that before! It's almost as if the airline, should an emergency be encountered, wants us to perish so we don't come back and sue their behinds for providing such crappy instructional material.

And to think air travel and the mocking-of has always been standard fodder for the stand-up comedian. Is that still the case?

It's 2007. The Wright Bros. ought to be spinning in their tombs. And, by the way, where the hell's my flying car???


Blogger Tricia Dower said...

Yeah, the flying car. I'm still waiting for the automated highway My Weekly Reader promsied me in second grade. You would put your domed car on automatic pilot and play board games with the family while the road took you safely anywhere you wanted to go.

Glad to have you back, Mel.

Sun Jun 03, 06:14:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger tamara said...

"Any flight you walk away from is a good flight"??? That from a pilot. Jeez, pilot humour is rather dark... Good thing I'm training it this whole next leg of my trip.

Mon Jun 04, 01:44:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Andrew Tibbetts said...

I love flying- airports in general even just to go and visit, thrill me. The whole shebang. I'm SO ready for a trip somewhere. Thanks for sharing yours, MelBel. Keep the travelogues coming, Mel and Steve. And Tamara, too- Canada's it's own adventure.

Mon Jun 04, 10:22:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Steve Gajadhar said...

Mel, AC is one of the best! Try jamming yourself into a United or Delta flight. The stewardesses are all pissed off psychos and the decor is from the 70s. And service? Ferget it!

Having just spent some (okay ALOT)of time on JALways (Japan Airways), I can say that at least they have it right. They even change shirts for different in-flight services. I highly recommend them if you're planning on crossing the Pacific.

Tue Jun 05, 03:58:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger MelBell said...

Air Canada is, in my opinion, one of the best airlines around. I'm sorry if it appears I'm knocking them - I tease because I LOVE - you all know that; but as an infrequent flyer, every time I get on board a flight these days, something seems to have been taken away entirely or exchanged for something completely invisible to the naked eye.

I neglected to mention that for all my fussy-pants fussiness, the flight attendants remain some of the nicest people in the world and their aircraft is always spotless. I've traveled on the American air carriers and they just make me so very, very sad.

But really - where the heck is the flying car? Do I have to invent it myself??

Wed Jun 06, 11:59:00 pm GMT-4  

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