Bill and I flew home separately on Tuesday. Bill’s last minute decision to join me in Denver required that he be somewhat creative in obtaining affordable airfare, so he flew back on Spirit while I flew back on Frontier. His plane left two-and-a-half hours before mine, so I had time to kill. He killed time on the other end.
If you have flown in the past few years you know that the price of a plane ticket merely gets you the right to walk onto the plane. They will decide where you sit, likely between a 350 lb. man who smacks his gum and smells slightly like beef jerky and a 68-year-old woman wearing strong perfume that smells like roses in a funeral parlor and breathing through her mouth. By time you select a seat, check a bag, and buy a bag of M&Ms, you might as well have departed for Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris.
There is nothing Bill likes more when flying than to be in the front of the plane. It matters not in the least that in the event of a crash, he will turn into dust as the plane dives nose first into the ground. He, being that optimist that I always tell you he is, presumes the plane will NOT crash and he will be the first one off. Spirit Airlines is the king of airlines if your definition of royalty is requiring any passengers with legs to be happy chewing on their knees during the flight. So he is more than happy to spring for the $25 fee to sit in the front row where there is actually leg room. “Look at this,” he said as he showed me his ticket indicating his seat number was 1C. I sadly looked at my seat assignment of 20C. Oh well.
I love watching the people at airports. Only 1 in 100 passengers is not connected in any way to technology as they await their flight. Me included (in the 99, not the 1). What did we all do at airports before cell phones? Drank heavily and read tattered paperback books, I guess. You see all manner of folks. Lovers. Loners. Families. Happy people. Grouchy people. People praying rosaries (oops, that’s me). People playing Janis Joplin songs from his iPad without benefit of earphones (oops, that’s the person sitting next to me). Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose.
After I kissed Bill goodbye at his gate, I went to kill time by eating lunch. I had decided to enjoy a nice meal including wine, so I wandered to the airport chapter of the Denver Chophouse. “One,” I said to the greeter at the restaurant. “Would you like a table?” she asked me. As opposed to rolling out a blanket on the floor? “Yes please,” I answered. I should have smelled a rat right then and there and turned around and headed for Panda Express where we are all equal.
“Will this be ok?” she asked me. I answered in the affirmative, though it became quickly apparent that I should have said no. I was seated at a tiny table in the back corner, facing the wall. I’m actually not kidding…..
But I enjoyed my salmon and cheddar mashed potatoes, and my wine was yummy. I read a book through my whole meal anyway. I must admit, however that I was quite surprised when I turned around to leave after paying my bill to see that there were a multitude of tables available that wouldn’t have required me to face a wall. I am woman, hear me roar.
But it occurred to me that if this was the worst thing that would happen to me that day, given I will be 30,000 feet in the air flying over the Rocky Mountains, it wasn’t so bad. The wine was good.
My plane came from somewhere else, and it arrived well on time. We boarded quickly and were ready to pull out of the gate a couple of minutes before the scheduled time. Except that we didn’t.
The captain’s voice came over the loudspeaker.
“Hello. This is your captain speaking,” said the captain. “You may have noticed that we’re not moving. That’s because there is a City of Denver truck parked behind our plane, and no one seems to know who is the driver and where he is, exactly. But we’re looking.”
Bathroom break, perhaps? It didn’t occur to the driver that perhaps parking behind a passenger jet wasn’t a great idea if you need to go potty?
Happily, they quickly rounded up the driver and we were on our way only a few minutes late. All-in-all, it was better than something that happened to my niece Jessie recently on a trip home from the Bahamas.
She was on a red-eye flight, and it had been a long day. The plane she was on wasn’t moving. Time was ticking by. The captain (apparently always the bearer of bad news) came on and explained that there was a crane parked at the end of the runway. They were trying to get the crane removed, he assured them. They waited a bit. After quite some time, the pilot came back on the intercom. Here’s what he said (or at least my version of what he said)….
Ladies and gentlemen, the crane is still parked at the end of the runway. Here’s what we’re going to do. We are going to turn off the air pressure and get our speed up as fast as we can. We think by doing this we SHOULD be able to fly over the crane. Have a nice flight.
The it might be a good time to grab a rosary and pray your ass off was implied.
See? When flying, things can always be worse. The plane, by the way, did successfully make it over the crane.
Add flight attendant to the list of occupations I never would want to have.