Fear of Flying

Every time Bill and I travel by plane, I am struck by how little room there is between knees and seat backs. It’s not so bad for me, as my legs aren’t much longer than those of Tom Thumb. But I always feel sorry for Bill. He’s only of average height, and yet his knees are always slammed against the seat back. He looks the way I imagine poor Jack looks in his box. You know, Jack-in-the-Box. C’mon people; work with me.

Anyhoo, remember when the flight attendants would tell you that if the plane is plummeting, passengers should bend forward and put their heads in their lap during impact? I never really bought that, even back in the days when I was limber enough to actually bend over that far. I just never figured that was going to do much when you hit the ground at airplane speed. It seemed more like you were bending over so that you could kiss your you-know-what goodbye.

Nowadays, they don’t even bother. If the plane’s going down, I assume the flight attendants just wrap up their potato chip sales, make sure everyone’s signed their Visa receipts and added the necessary tip, put on their parachutes and wave goodbye.

Whenever we talk about air travel, my sister Bec always says she’s waiting for the day when just prior to takeoff, the flight attendant’s voice comes over the intercom, and he or she says in that fake Cheerful Flight Attendant Voice, “Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to In Your Face Airlines. We’re happy you’ve chosen to fly with us today. In an effort to keep your costs to a minimum because we care so much about our customers, we haven’t staffed a pilot today. So, is there anyone among you who has some flying experience? Any amateur pilots? Anyone ever fly in a hot air balloon? Anyone ever play any of those airplane video games? If so, ring your flight attendant bell. We will be happy to take a full $10 off of your next ticket.”

Whenever Bec jokingly says this, I almost always respond with some funny add-on regarding the fact that I’m surprised they don’t have passengers standing like on a subway, gripping the strap hanging from the ceiling.

Hilarious, right?

EXCEPT THAT MY SIDESPLITTING IDEA is actually being discussed by airline officials. True, the idea came from the mouth of the CEO of a mostly-unknown budget airline called VivaColumbia, who assured the Miami Herald reporter to whom he offered this idea that it was in the consumer’s best interest because the airlines are always looking at ways to make flying less expensive.  Cough.

A scenario that might be a bit more realistic if not more horrifying is this airplane seat design that was offered at a recent Aircraft Interiors Expo…..

I don’t know what to say. I just don’t. I’m hoping those aircraft interior expo guys proposed this on a cocktail napkin after three or four martinis, and the bartender threw it away afterwards. By the way, this information and the photo comes from an article from Inc. Magazine.

Whenever Bill or I make airline reservations these days, we start out with basic economy. It isn’t long, however, that we get sucked into buying assigned seats and buying the opportunity to bring a bag onto the plane that will actually fit more than just a package of travel Kleenex. But we’re dumb, because the United Airlines CFO has actually been quoted as saying, “You get people to pay more for something that in the past was bundled.”

But, at least those of us who are flying what now is optimistically referred to as Basic Economy give those in Regular Economy someone to sniff their noses at after they’ve been sniffed at by those in Business Class.

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