The Last Frontier

Dear Frontier Airlines:

How are you? I am fine, and hope you are the same. I just wanted to alert you to something: You are kicking my ass. Quite frankly, if it were at all possible, I would never fly on your airline again, no matter what kind of cute animal with an adorable name is on the tail of the plane.

While I’m not Steve Jobs, I am familiar with online shopping and other activities. You know, activities like making airline reservations. After all, Amazon and I are in a fully committed relationship. If I’m looking for a package of safety pins, I order them from Amazon. In fact, if I’m not sure what kind of safety pins I want or how many I should order, I can peruse Amazon’s website without tearing out my hair and easily make a decision.

Here’s the thing, Frontier Airlines. All I want to do is make airline ticket reservations for Bill and I to fly to see our grandsons and their mothers in Vermont. Oh, and I want to use Bill’s frequent flyer miles. You see, over the years, he accumulated many miles faithfully using your crappy credit card, just as you urged us to do. Seventy-seven thousand miles, in fact. But when I went on your website, it turns out that you charge a premium to use miles to fly to Burlington, VT, and back to Denver. In fact, you require 40,000 miles for each of us for a round trip. Plus some extra cashola out of our pockets.

Now, I understand and support the fact that you can require us to use as many miles as you deem fit. There probably aren’t people falling over each other to get to Burlington, VT, though they would be if they could see how cute our grandsons are. See…..

Anyhoo, the problem — at least in part — is that, see above, Bill only has 77,000 miles. I, however, have an additional 24,000 miles. It seems as though there ought to be a way to combine those without having the mind of Alan Turing. We do, after all, share a bed every night of the week, and consider ourselves family.

And maybe there is a possibility of combining miles. The thing is, you see, your website, well, SUCKS. In fact, I got so frustrated with trying to figure out HOW to figure it out that I stooped to CALLING THE CUSTOMER SUPPORT NUMBER.

Hahahahahahahahaha. As if you could actually get to a human. Sometimes I wonder whether I would be better off saying I speak Spanish, because I am more likely to understand Spanish than I am to get the answer to my question from your website.

“I’m done!” I yelled angrily to Bill. “We’re going to AAA.”

Love, Kris


Dear AAA:

I couldn’t possibly love you more. I want to contact Pope Francis to recommend William Holt from the DTC AAA office for sainthood. I was surprised (and secretly pleased) that William seemed to be as confounded by Frontier’s website as I. But he was an actual human that I didn’t have to yell REPRESENTATIVE into the telephone to access. And he was patient and kind and even though he had to type in Bill’s Frontier password somewhere in the neighborhood of 78 times, I’m pretty sure he isn’t going to use it to make plane reservations for he and his entire family to fly to Cancun, Mexico. Plus, I don’t think he’d want to fly Frontier anyway, what with them laying off his father without severance and all. And even if he did, I think he deserves it!

AAA, you are AWESOME.

Love, Kris

Airborn on the Cheap

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to Extremely Cheap Airlines Flight 1234, nonstop to Denver. We apologize that your flight was delayed by three hours, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. Not to worry. Your crew killed the time in the Goose Tavern just across from your gate, so we are all raring to go. Well, maybe a bit tired, but nothing a little cocaine won’t take care of. The captain’s in the bathroom even as we speak.

Anyhoo, I have some really good news for you folks this afternoon. We have managed to fit a few more rows of seats into your airplane by providing absolutely NO leg room between rows. Well, to be fair, that’s probably better news for us than to you. Be that as it may, here we go people: Criss Cross, applesauce. You can do it! Cross those legs!

The above announcement wasn’t actually made on our flight home from Chicago Saturday afternoon, but only because the powers-that-be of the discount airlines haven’t yet thought of the so-called Criss Cross Applesauce Solution. By the way, if you are a baby boomer without grandkids, I will inform you that Criss Cross Applesauce is what we used to call sitting Indian style. Changing what that style of sitting is called is political correctness based on the presumption that Indians probably never sat that way.

As it is, the amount of legroom between seats on both Frontier Airlines (which we flew TO Chicago) and Spirit Airlines (which we flew HOME to Denver) is laughable. My legs are about as short as they can possibly be without having my own reality television show and I was unable to cross them. And trying to pick up something you drop on the floor of the plane? That’s not going to happen. Poor Bill, and poor anyone else with normal-sized legs.

Still, Bill and I flew from Denver to Chicago and home again for just over $200 for both of us. At the end of the day, provided I’m not flying more than a couple of hours, I’ll put up with gnawing on my knees for a cheap fare. It is worth it in the end.

imgresEach time I fly, something happens that makes me think back to the golden days of travel. The days when you wore a dress instead of ripped sweat pants and a dirty t-shirt. Days when travelers were given a little meal served on a tiny plate featuring a chicken breast, soggy broccoli, and a roll that had been baked when dinosaurs walked the earth. Remember the little lukewarm salad? How could the salad be lukewarm, yet the meal be cold? But I digress. This time, the thing that made me stop and go “can this be true?” happened on our Frontier flight to Chicago. It was mid-morning and I did something I occasionally do. I purchased Bill and I each a Bloody Mary on the plane. I won’t linger on the part in which I had to fumble for my wallet in the minute space between my legs that straddled my carry-on bag. Persistence won out, and I finally handed the flight attendant my credit card, thinking all the while, “Well, at least I don’t have to leave a tip.” Oops. Too soon. Because yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, there was a line to leave a tip for the flight attendant. Apparently the days of flight attendants’ disdain at being called waiters- and waitresses-in- the- sky are over. I only left 15 percent given the fact that all the flight attendant had to do was hand me a little bottle of vodka and a can of Bloody Mary Mix. He didn’t even hand me a dish of Chex Mix.

One day before I die, I want to travel first class. I’ve never had that luxury, and it’s definitely on my bucket list. But I don’t want to waste my one-and-only first class ticket on flying someplace close. No, I will wait until I am flying to Hawaii or Miami, or maybe even Europe. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law recently flew to and from Australia first class. They had beds, my friends, beds in which they could stretch out and actually sleep. The last time Bill and I flew to France, I was sitting next to a Frenchman who needed a bath, and Bill was sitting next to an American tourist who spent the entire flight barfing into her little bag.

First class, and that’s a promise.

This post linked to the GRAND Social

Janis Joplin and Staring at Walls

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…..

airport table

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.

Thursday Thoughts

Baby You Can Drive My Car
When Bill and I traveled to Chicago this past week, we parked our car at a hotel near the airport and took their shuttle to DIA. The shuttle driver picked us up shortly after we called. He was a pleasant fellow who chatted almost ceaselessly with us since we were sitting in the front of the bus. We didn’t mind because he was very nice and quite informative. After we had established that we were BFFs, I said to him, “I imagine when you have a day off, the last thing you want to do is drive.” He looked at me with some surprise and told me that he LOVED to drive and never got tired of it. Now that’s a concept I simply can’t understand. I drive every day. I probably put several hundred miles on my car each week, give or take. I hope I can continue to drive for a long while yet. But I never, EVER, enjoy it. Never have. Never will. If I go to purgatory (or worse) after I die, my punishment will be driving a bus day in and day out.

Billy Joe Royal, circa 1966, doing his best George Harrison imitation.

Billy Joe Royal, circa 1966, doing his best George Harrison imitation.

Filling My Brain
As we were driving home from the airport after we had retrieved our car, Bill mentioned something about the boondocks. I don’t remember what we were talking about. Anyway, he went on to ask me if I remembered the old song Down in the Boondocks. Not only do I remember it (Billy Joe Royal), but I can recall every single word of the song, and proceeded to sing it to Bill. Undoubtedly that was a joy for him. But after I completed my tune (People put me down ‘cause that’s the side of town I was born in….), it occurred to me that I use a considerable number of brain cells remembering the words to old tunes from the 1950s and 60s. I also can remember old phone numbers (Columbus home phone number 564-5773, Columbus bakery number 564-7431, believe me, I could go on). And yet I call each of my grandkids by a name that isn’t theirs, generally Addie; but I call Addie by Kaiya’s name. Go figure. Bill assures me I don’t have to worry because I have a huge number of brain cells available, but still…..

Ode to Acting Old
Yesterday afternoon at Walmart, I’m afraid I performed a perfect old-person act, and when I say perfect, I mean perfectly embarrassing. There was a young mother and her 3-ish-old child in front of me in line. She had groceries on the conveyor belt, but there was a 2 foot area with no groceries. Without giving it a thought, I put up the dividing bar and began loading my groceries onto the conveyor belt. The young woman said nothing, and it wasn’t until I had ALL OF MY GROCERIES loaded onto the belt that I noticed she had an entire grocery cart left to check out. Ladies and gentlemen, she wasn’t done putting her groceries onto the belt. I apologized profusely in that way that old people do when they screw up. She was perfectly nice, but I can imagine that she was thinking, “Seriously Old Woman? You didn’t see an entire OVERFLOWING cart of groceries?” Furthermore, because my groceries were taking up the entire conveyor belt, she had to hand her groceries from that cart one-by-one to the checker. At one point the transfer of a 40-oz bottle of Gatorade wasn’t successful, and it fell onto the floor, spilling everywhere. Orange Gatorade.  By the way, it wasn’t over yet for the poor young woman. As I was making my biscotti yesterday afternoon, I couldn’t find the bag of dried cranberries I KNEW I had purchased. All of a sudden, I realized that they had probably tumbled onto the woman’s groceries. She will get home and wonder where in the heck the dried cranberries came from. Oh yeah, she’ll think. The crazy old lady. Sigh.

Tiny Tray

Teeny, tiny tray.

Teeny, tiny tray.

Bill and I flew home from Chicago on Frontier Airlines, and we had the funniest seats. This, by the way, is a follow up to my post earlier this week about flying. The seats were stationary, reclining not at all, and were hard as rocks. But the funniest things were the trays. They were no more than 10 inches by 4 inches and literally barely fit my glass and my can. Not all of the rows had these particular seats, but our row and the row behind us were so blessed. Perhaps we were guinea pigs. I vote no.

petunias preplant

Petunias awaiting planting….

Pretty Petunias
I bought $45 dollars’ worth of petunias yesterday. I always put different colored petunias in the little garden area that lines our fountain in the back yard. Every summer I simply love the colors and the garden makes me happy. But man, there is simply not a job I dislike more than planting my petunias. I do them a few at a time, making the job bearable.