Remember when flying was fun?
Come to think of it, many people probably don’t remember flying being fun, or, if they think it’s fun now they have adapted to the “new normal” of security screenings, removal of shoes and metals, and only carrying on food purchased after running the security gauntlet.
Truth be told, flying wasn’t always fun, even before the new inconveniences were added to the experience. Take turbulence. There has always been turbulence, sometimes barely noticeable, sometimes gut wrenching.
Sick seat mates are perennial plagues, and, with some, “plague” seems to be the proper diagnosis: red rings around the eye, pulmonary distress, high fever with heavy sweating offset by bouts of shivering, punctuated by explosive discharges of atomized bodily fluids.
Then there are the screaming young children, ranging from innocent babies with air pressure earaches to toddlers regaling the rest of the passengers — even those on other planes — with eardrum-piercing squeals of “MOMMY” or “DADDY,” though usually “Mommy,” because “Daddy” has his Bose headphones on, listening to anything other than his darling child.
This past weekend I had the trifecta of bad flights. OK, not as bad as that US Air flight that Capt. Sully landed safely on the Hudson, but still pretty bad. It began ... well, at first it didn’t begin. The fully sold-out flight from Chicago-Midway to SFO was showing “on time,” though just outside the boarding lounge Thor was making a different prediction, with the loudest, longest-sustained, closest-to-me lightning display ever. We later learned that the same storm was canceling all flights to or from airports in Chicago and as far away as St. Louis.
Midway’s all-flights cancellation announcement was made at 10 p.m. last Friday, three hours after my flight’s scheduled departure. I phoned the hotel I had checked out of at noon and was lucky to snag a room before everyone else did the same. While returning in a taxi, I got the airline’s reservation service on the line and soon had a reservation for Saturday, Midway to Dallas to SFO.
Saturday’s flights were on time, though the Midway-Dallas segment fought the storm’s remnants.
Both flight segments were packed — no empty seats. In keeping with FAA regulations, many of the passengers exhibited symptoms of contagious diseases, as described earlier. There is something disconcerting about being caged in a metal tube for seven hours with a great many people who sneeze more than they speak.
In one sense, flying is more fun than ever, if you write a humor column.
email@example.com made it home, eventually.