March 03, 2007

/Rant on Airline Travel

Back in NYC, after another day of flying. I had gone nearly four years without a flight, and I’ve had three round trips in the past 12 weeks. I must say, fair warning, that those of you who don’t yet grasp how to prepare for the security checkpoint, please get a handle on that someplace other than AT THE SECURITY CHECKPOINT.

Dan’s quick tips for flying in a post-9/11, pre-Mission Accomplished world:

How to deal with the security checkpoint.

1. Before you leave, plan your travel outfit. Since your shoes will be coming off while you’re on line with your luggage, shoes that slip on and off easily are recommended. Conversely, big fricking ugly boots - either for men or women - do nothing but illustrate how you have the strategic thinking abilities of a Labrador Retriever puppy.

2. You’ll be going through a metal detector, and as a general rule, those cranky machines prefer it when they don’t detect any metal. Don’t wear clothing that has crazy studs, rings, loops, or full +5 plate mail. Your leather jacket with studs will set the machine off. Staring blankly at the TSA agent, and then saying "but it's only a leather jacket" isn't as clever a response to the metal detector going off as you might think.

3. While you’re still minutes from the metal detector, put any metal (keys, coins, blackberrys, ipods, watches, pens) into your bag or coat. Take off your shoes. Pull your laptop out of your carry-on bag. All this can be done before you get to the bins, so that you can avoid both delaying the entire line, and also the spitting and cursing that I will lower upon you and your house for generations to come because you’re too selfish to get your act together two minutes in advance. We’re all in this together people, and you saving yourself two minutes of carrying you shoes means a two minute delay for an entire line of 100 people. Hands up who sucks when that happens – now look around, yes, it's you.

4. Two bins – one for bag and coat and shoes, one for laptop alone. Please ensure they are actually on the conveyor belt. I love the dumbfucks—I mean customers who just leave their crap on the table, expecting that somehow, magically, their things will appear on the on the side of the x-ray machine. Has that ever happened to you before? Are you aware of other instances when the laws of basic physics were suddenly suspended? If you put something down over here, it won’t suddenly disappear and reappear over there. If that were possible, well we wouldn’t need the airplane then, would we Baby Einstein? Here's an idea - stop, look around, and get a sense of how the world around you is operating. You don't need to be a frequent flyer to grasp how a conveyor belt works. If you've been to a supermarket in the past 35 years, you've likely been exposed to the technology in action.

5. Once through the metal detector, get your crap, and MOVE. Standing at the metal detector while you re-dress yourself, though charming in its total disregard for other people on the planet is actually annoying as hell. If we crash in the Andes, I’m totally eating your self-centered ass first, you selfish fuck.

Finally, a note to airlines: if you would like us not to be upset at your delays and exorbitant prices for water and food which we have no choice but to pay since you ban outside water and no longer serve meals on your flights, at least you can wire the fucking terminal up for electricity. 200 people waiting for a delayed flight, with a sum total of two power outlets. Nice move. Welcome to the 21st century, we’ve only been traveling with laptops for 10+ years, nice to know you’re on top of things there. I won’t even mention wireless Internet, except to say that you should give us free wireless Internet you cheap bastards.

The first airline to have power available at the seats both in the terminals and on the plane and some free wireless Internet is the airline I will happily patronize. But that would be, you know, obvious and would demonstrate a certain amount of paying attention to the world changing around you. God forbid anyone in authority at the airlines did that; they're all too busy crying to the Federal government that they need a bailout because for some reason fewer people are flying.

/Rant off


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