What is your favorite part about a flight? I’ve broken down what I believe are the major categories of being on a bus in the friendly skies. I personally, prefer to actually fly the aircraft but no matter what airline you take it’s all pretty much the same routine. Who of us cannot recite it by heart now? The only real difference between airlines is price and service. Price is fairly straight forward. Charge me less and you win my business. Service is a DMZ between you and the airline executives trying to hit their quotas for annual bonuses. Loyalty programs fall under service and can be a significant factor in picking your airline. In any case, I rank all of these categories from fav-to-loath but not in that order. That’d be too easy.
Boarding a Flight – #9
This part always makes me giggle a little. Are you “that guy” who thinks the sequence for boarding called out is just a suggestion? Self-righteous suits seem to be the biggest culprits. Believing their business title of vice whatever-acronym extends to the rest of the world. I don’t really get priority boarding unless you have some disability, which for some reason these days seems to include having children. It seems that efficiency isn’t the priority of this process. It’s about the few extra bucks to the airline. Meaning if you’re a business class/frequent flyer. You win… sort of. To me, it’s just more hurry up and wait. Duke University did a study and found the window to aisle technique, which involves boarding passengers assigned window seats followed by passengers assigned middle seats and finally by passengers assigned aisle seats. Resulted in a 36% reduction in boarding time. But how can you charge passengers for a more efficiency process?
Safety Announcements – #10
The picture above describes perfectly what I feel like doing during the announcements. Flight attendants have better things to do then uncomfortably stand in front of everyone and show them how to use a seatbelt and recite what must be the most standardize set of instructions in aviation history. I know it’s a rule, or probably a law. But instead: Play. A. Video! Some airlines do. I think Delta has some propaganda message from their CEO (ego much?) I don’t know about you, but I try to get away with having my headphones in during this time. Or play solitaire, or read a book or count the luggage being loaded on. ANYTHING to get through this part. I feel like I’m being nagged or spoken to like I’m a child.
Take off – #1
This. Right here. Is what urban youth call, “the shizznit” At least I assume so. As soon as the engines scream up. Danna-dana-dant, da-dant, da-dant, dant, dant. An audio track from the great movie ever made plays in my head. Thank you Mr. Kenny Loggins. I’m on a highway to the danger zone. It doesn’t get much better than take off for me. It gets me through all the B.S. that came before.
Putting your earphones back in – #4
Finally time to retreat back in to peace by listening to my favourite heavy metal bands. I’m not kidding. After take off, this is a great moment for me. You can open your laptop and play a movie if the entertainment system is from 1993. Or write blog posts while listening to your tunes. Hit the mute button on that baby crying. I can now focus on how I am going to pass the time until I land.
In flight meal – #7
Eating is important, right? So why is it so low? Well because airline food makes those $1 michelina microwave meals look like they came from a Cordon Bleu chef. I get the issues of trying to fit food on a plane but this stuff can’t be healthy. And when stuff isn’t healthy, isn’t it supposed to taste good? Nope, can’t get that right either. I think the airlines should give us vouchers for some of the shops in the terminal and let us bring on our own food. It may get messy, true, but at least we’d have more choice instead of food that tastes like plastic. Either that, to provide free booze to wash the over salted whatever down with.
Sleeping – #8
I’ve tried medication. I’ve tried not sleeping before. I’ve tried it all. I just can’t sleep on flights. Maybe one day I will but that hasn’t come yet. I’m always open to ideas. So if you have tips, tricks or any methods to make me unconscious, please share. If it involves anything physically knocking me out, like walking up to Mike Tyson and saying “you are unequivocally a lecherous dingleberry and a deplorable feces-collecting amalgamation of loathsome repulsiveness” Not sure if he’d hit me or thank me but either way it will be a last resort. If you can sleep, it is probably the greatest tool for flights. It means you kill the long journey and wake up in a totally different place. I was able to sleep on the overnight train from Venice to Paris but even the most comfortable seat on a plane hasn’t helped. Not that I’ve ever been in first class. I’d stick out like a….hmmm, can’t think of anything clever so I’d just stick out a lot. I also subscribe to the etiquette of not putting my seat back. I am tall, not huge, but I need room for my legs. I use my knees to block the seat from coming back too far. Does this make me a jerk? yeah, a little. But have you not noticed the back of that chair is maybe five, six inches from your face? This makes it low for me on the experience ranks.
The Movie/Entertainment system -#3
Naturally, this is very high since I can’t sleep. I like passing the time with movies. Three movies and I’ve gone from home to London in what seems like half the time it took. They don’t cater to my musical taste but there is a good array of movies, TV shows and games that I’ll use. I think this is an underrated feature for most airlines. Certainly one they don’t market well enough.
The Flight Crew – #6
This isn’t a high priority for me like I can see it is for others. I don’t need pillows or blankets or extra snacks. I’m as low maintenance a passenger as it gets. All I ask is for them to be polite and friendly. On occasion when I see one with a chip on their shoulder or can’t seem to rummage up some sense of manners. I respond coldly, and don’t extend my normal friendliness. I know that’s horrible to say but I just don’t have pity for someone who has chosen to be flight attendant but can’t be courteous to someone who isn’t making their job more difficult. Be grumpy on your own time. I need to get where I’m going.
View from the sky – #5
I’m a window seat lover. I can get through parts of the flight just by looking out the window. I try to spot other planes. I even got to witness a military air-to-air refueling once. Clouds look like floating icebergs. Cities look like puzzles put together, and at night, look like constellations on the ground. I just really like being in the sky.
Landing – #2
You’re there! Or here! Or, at your destination! You get to look out on an entirely new, or happily returning place. Take the landscape in with the broadest view possible, looking for world famous landmarks, watching the ground get closer. I’m glued to my window at this point. Sorry isle guy, you may have to look across to the other window for a view.
#1 – Take off
#2 – Landing
#3 – The Movie/Entertainment system -#3
#4 – Putting your earphones back in
#5 – View from the sky
#6 – The Flight Crew
#7 – In Flight Meal
#8 – Sleeping
#9 – Boarding
#10 – Safety Announcements
I’m debating on getting my own private pilot license. Ok, not debating more like as soon as I have the cash I will be in the sky on my own. And if I win the lottery, I’ll be calling up Saker and ordering an S-1 as my first purchase. Has this ever interested you? What’s your favourite(Canuck/UK spelling you yanks!) part of flying? What’s the worst? Did I miss anything?