Friday, January 27, 2017

Thoughts From an Airline Flight

I am fortunate enough to get to fly several times each year.  I have a few work trips each year and a few personal trips - mostly to see family - repeat trips to the same places.  I know the Orlando airport as well as my home airport, and the American Airlines gate agent in Orlando recognized me this trip.  It is easy to become complacent about yet another trip. 

I can remember when a trip to Florida was something people planned for months, saved up for and got excited about.  Not so for me anymore.  And yet there is an adventure in each trip.  On the most recent trip I saw a bald eagle, a feral pig, a stork, and enough tropical birds to stock a small zoo. I visited dear friends and family - some maybe for the last time (my boss asked about my trip and then asked if I visited anyone who was well on the trip - I did, Blitz the Wonder dog has lost a little weight and is doing very well.)  I enjoyed the change in winter weather. When I dropped off the rental car I had driven 710 miles in four days, I don't drive that much in my car in four months.    

I sometimes wonder where the plane has been.  I have been a lot of places, but there are still places for me to explore.  I wonder if the plane has been to the two states I have not been to. What islands in the Caribbean has it been to that I have yet to explore? I wonder who has sat in this seat, first time flyers excited about going to Florida, someone on the way to meet a new love, someone going home for a funeral, or traveling for the last time - as their personal adventure is coming to an end. Filling those seats is what keeps the airlines flying.  

Sometimes the person sitting next to me has a story to tell and is eager for a willing ear, sometimes not.  I always ask, if they are headed out or headed home. Everyone has an answer for that.  One time the guy sitting next to me on a cross country flight, grunted, took a pill and sent a text message that read "I took the second Xanax, I will wake up over California" and promptly went to sleep for five hours. One person spent the next half hour telling me that she was headed to her childhood home to clean it out for the last time - another explained that she was returning to have her furniture packed and shipped to her new home in the middle east.  I sat next to a guy one time who was a consultant who fired people for a living - he joked you never want to see me coming into your office unless you have hired me.  

I feel very secure flying. Airliners are masterpieces of engineering, even after an emergency landing a few years ago, I eagerly took my seat on the next flight.  Rough weather can make it difficult to hold my Coke Zero, but really is no danger to the plane.  The guys and gals up front, are planning to make it home safe, I am just along for the ride.  

What do you think about when you fly? 

9 comments:

  1. I love flying too and for the most part love it. I do tend to mind longer flights though, I'll admit. A few gins and I'm fine. I don't remember what I was thinking though. but my favorite flight was once to San Fran and a had a drop dead guy sit next to me. His legs liked like nutcrackers and handsome model face, Tight dress shirt unbuttoned low. And a real talker. It was by far my favorite flight. The THINGS that went through my head when we weren't talking.

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    1. legs like nutcrackers - there are so many ways to think about that line

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    2. Did you introduce him to the Mile High Club?
      JP

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    3. coulda, shoulda, woulda.......

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  2. It's great that you can still enjoy and appreciate air travel. I traveled constantly for my last job and it became less stressful the more I did it. I no longer find it as pleasant given the crowds and confusion at times at security. But it was really special to me to be recognized and acknowledged by gate agents and flight attendants. That still happens to us at the Delta counter in Málaga airport, which does make things nicer. Unlike Mistress Maddie, I have never had anyone with legs like nutcrackers sitting next to me!

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  3. With my MS--leg brace, walker or wheelchair/scooter, cane, and much more, travel has lost its luster. What I think about when flying is dealing with leg spasms, getting to the bathroom in time, getting to our connection, etc. I used to think about the trip ahead.

    It's a shame because we used to go to Maine every summer for a couple of weeks, and England is my most favorite travel destination. My husband just turned 84 and I am 67, so driving is kind of iffy, too. I get too sleepy, and I worry about his health. it seems we are screwed. I would like to take the ship, The Queen Mary 2, to the UK, but that is probably out of our price range.

    We probably will never fly again, unfortunately.

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  4. I look out the window most of the time, and try to identify features likes rivers, lakes, towns, etc.

    Don't really care for flying all that much, though.

    :-)

    -Andy

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  5. Singing nuns, olivia de havilland playing poker, a cross eyed Karen Black, helen hayes stowing away, ........

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  6. As I fly so rarely, and it usually is for something exciting (not work) I see a flight as exciting. I don't get much sleep the night prior in anticipation. Alas, we often travel at zany hours and cattle car which diminishes the pleasure.

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