Traveling is one of the greatest joys of my professional career. Below is a post I wrote a while back…
After several weeks of work travel, I am finally back on the homefront, although I did return with a little present. I caught a nasty stomach virus on my last trip to Detroit. One minute I was feeling ok, resisting the urge to curse out the gate agent for rebooking me on a less than desired route and the next minute, I was feeling feverish and nauseous.
So anyway, I am taking a sick day, which still does not explain why I am sitting on my couch watching TV instead of demolishing this mountain called my work inbox.
While I sat at my gate awaiting the call for Zone 5, I realized how interesting the subject of air travel is.
When I was younger, the mere thought of boarding a plane was a big deal. I remember as a child, my first air plane ride was a family trip from Lagos to Abuja, Nigeria. Man, was that exciting! We got all dressed up for the occasion. A few years later, my family went on our first intercontinental vacation to Europe, which was an even bigger event. Although we were flying coach on both occasions, I distinctly remember the feeling of luxury, of being catered to.
Fast forward to last week when I asked for a blanket (what the heck was i thinking!) because I was freezing and was told it would cost $10, cash and exact change only! Airlines have gone from offering a choice from a wide selection of beverages, to abrupt service offering just water or…water and ice lol.
Few other things that caught my attention:
The glaring difference between Frequent Flyers and “The Others“. You can typically spot the frequent flyer – characterized by speed as they navigate the self-check in kiosks (if they did not already print off boarding pass, or have it downloaded on their smartphones), expertly packed travel-size liquids and gels as they make it through security with shoes and belts already taken off, or even the seamless way they hoist compact carry-ons into overhead bin and swiftly take their seats. “The Others” tend to appear confused and lost which ultimately annoys their speedier counterparts.
Boarding by class zone. I am sure the airlines were simply devising an efficient and easy way to board planes to avoid chaos and delays. So why does it seem like a way to humiliate those of us who are not fortunate enough to fly first class? Has anyone ever noticed the look of smug superiority on the faces of the first class passengers as the rest of us make our way to the back of the plane? Is it pure coincidence that we have to walk past them, drinking their “pre-flight” refreshments, legs comfortably stretched out on our way to our seats, knowing that our own experience way back there will be less than pleasant? What about the almost see-through curtain that separates them from us? Transparent just enough to allow us imagine the sights and sounds, but solid enough to keep us away from using their bathroom. I remember once being shooed back to my seat when I attempted to use the bathroom in First Class, to avoid the long line in Coach. 😦
Black woman with natural hair = potential terrorist? Has anyone with natural hair ever had their pony tail searched when going through security? I don’t get it. Could I be hiding a gun or knife in there? Since when did my Shea Butter and coconut oil mix become chemical weapons of mass destruction?
I apologize if this is common knowledge, but as a newly natural sista, this was a new one for me; especially as I hate people touching my hair.
In-flight speed dating. Most times when I board, I just want to sleep, read or work in peace! If this is the case, my headphones are slipped on as soon as my butt touches the seat. I may as well have a Do Not Disturb sign on my forehead. Of course, once in a while the Chatty Cathy next to me will keep talking to me anyway.
Sometimes, however, you are lucky enough to sit next to someone whom you connect with and you both stay in touch after you arrive at your final destinations. Other times, the interaction lasts only as long as the flight. I’ve always been amazed at how much personal information is shared in a relatively short time. People will talk about their families, jobs, hobbies, likes, dislikes, past relationships, fears, opinions, etc within minutes of sitting next to a person on the plane. One key piece of info is typically withheld though. Can you guess? Name! In my experience, people will have these personal and intense discussions without an actual introduction!
Have you observed any of these? Are there any interesting tidbits you have noticed about flying? Please follow and share your thoughts.