I don’t like to fly. It has nothing to do with a fear of, say, a large metal tube in which I’m captured suddenly plummeting out of the sky at thousands of miles per second in a headlong death-spiral doomed to end in a fiery explosion once it meets Earth. The way I see things, that sounds like a relatively painless way to go.
It’s the elbow-to-elbow confinement with the rest of the unwashed masses that I despise, the lack of any physical boundary or sound barrier between me and the yappy, gassy fat man who inevitably takes the seat next to mine. Most
stewardesses flight attendants suck, too, but since they’re the only people who are legally allowed to ferry my alcohol in-flight, I match their plastic, insincere smiles with my own.
This was all so much easier to tolerate back in the good ol’ days when smoking was allowed on the plane. If I puffed away hard enough the smoke effectively masked the stench of the fat man’s flatulence. Plus, cigarettes gave me something to do with my hands besides restrain them from pushing the call button so the
stewardess flight attendant could bring me more vodka.
Back then, I flew mostly sober.
These days if I fly anywhere alone you can bet I’ll be parked in the airport bar for a full hour before takeoff while I inoculate myself against hazardous spike in my blood pressure that’s triggered whenever I’m crammed elbow-to-elbow, knee-to-seat among a crowd of people with whom I want to have nothing in common aside from our destination.
In other words, by choice, I don’t fly much.
I simply can’t stand it, and until the airlines catch on to the link between “Air Rage” and packing people in like sardines, I don’t see a whole lot of voluntary air travel in my future, either.
Then again, Alaskan Airlines may make me change my mind. I can’t imagine there are a whole lot of people on one of their flights to begin with. Aside from salmon fishing and looking at snow — a lot of snow — there’s really not much to do in Alaska, is there? When you get on a flight bound for that kind of non-excitement, I imagine it’s mighty tempting to drink yourself into a stupor.
Which might explain why Alaska Airlines just announced it’s going to test satellite-based WiFi on one of its jets next spring. If it works well the company will expand satellite internet service to all of its 114 aircraft.
Granted, satellite internet is slower than the 6500 kb/s I’m used to at home, but there’s a lot to be said for the distraction provided by watching a page load. If nothing else, I can imagine restraining myself from pushing the button for the
stewardess flight attendant to bring more booze because I wouldn’t want her (or him) to interrupt me the instant the page finished loading.
Frankly, I hope this catches on with other airlines. It’s high time they figure out ways to add more value into the whole miserable flight experience, particularly if they insist on charging a small country’s GDP for a GD miniature bottle of vodka.
I imagine such a move would be rather well-received among other folks, too, particularly those folks sick of the FCC’s ban of cell phones in-flight. If they’ve got a smart phone they’ll be able to carry on conversations using the plane’s satellite internet provider. Good luck to the
stewardess flight attendants trying to figure out who’s using one of those and who’s from Europe where it’s perfectly legal.
Now if they’d only figure out a way to let me smoke on flights again, I might just start traveling more.