Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Everything's awesome and nobody's happy

I promised a run-down on my trip to Richmond, VA, and a run-down of my trip to Richmond, VA you shall receive! However, it will not be today because I'm waiting until my parents send me some photos of the occasion (and am actually hoping they will read this very blog post and thus save me an email). In the meantime, I'm updating anyway because no one is at my office right now because who would come into the office the week between Christmas and New Years? Thankfully, unlike last week, they left the heat on for me.

At any rate, the topic I'm choosing to write about while slowly amping up the anticipation for stunning photographs of a Richmond Christmas (seriously, I haven't technically seen them yet, but I'm expecting photographic fireworks), which is only tangentially related to my trip, is air travel. I'll try to make it more interesting than it sounds.

My flight yesterday was supposed to be leave a little before 1 and get in at 2 (actual air time is about 45 minutes, but they have to account for 30 minutes of taxiing and being delayed apparently). Anyway, we were on the plane exactly on time and even pulled away from the gate a little early, so I was both surprised and optimistic to think that both legs of my trip would be perfectly on schedule. Of course, that was not to be due to a storm coming through New York that caused traffic to back up in La Guardia. We were told that we would be sitting on the runway until 2 to see if the airport in New York would let us land, and if not, we would go back to the terminal and deplane. The reaction to this was a plane full of pissed off people. I can't help but think part of this reaction was a result of the usual post-holiday crankiness felt particularly by those who see their families once a year for a reason and are all too happy to finally get to head for home after an uncomfortable weekend. But from my perspective, the protesting seemed a little much.

One woman in a plaid coat kept flagging down the flight attendant to ask more questions about the delay. Plaid coat had recently gotten off the phone with her friend/family/therapist in New York who had told her that it wasn't yet raining there. She preceded to tell the flight attendant this and that she really didn't understand why weren't leaving now so as to get ahead of the storm, as if her phone contact's weather observations would really supersede the ruling of the air traffic controller. To her credit the flight attendant just nodded and smiled and, apparently, brought this woman's concern to the pilot, who then explained in detail on the loud speaker how airports work and how air traffic might be affected by an approaching storm even if it could not yet be noted by laymen on the ground. Plaid coat then spent the rest of the grounded hour on the phone with various people talking about her anger for all of the following: La Guardia, the Richmond airport, the city of Richmond, airplanes, and stupid people. I thought it was nice of them to let us turn our phones on to contact people and let them know we would be late, but overall, I think the waiting would have been a lot easier if at some point they had made up a need for people to turn off all electronic devices again. Although, had they, I would have missed the plaintive whines of the young woman behind me asking whoever she was talking to "why do these things always happen to me?"

The positive thing about being delayed on the airplane instead of in the terminal is that it allowed me the chance to peruse the entire Sky Mall holiday catalogue yet another year in a row. Which leads to the following questions:

Who's idea was it to try to sell adult footie pajamas with sex appeal?

If anything shouldn't this man be more offended if people assume this muppet fuzz is coming from him rather than his "Flair Hair Visor"?

Why? And also, why $24.95?

Luckily, our flight was not canceled and after being delayed for an hour, we were released by the ground crew to soar above the clouds. And remarkably, even after being delayed an hour I reached New York hours before my sister who had left from Richmond by train several hours before me. I guess there's something to this air travel thing after all. The whole experience reminded me of this Louis CK interview about, among other things, whining on airplanes. So I guess this whole post was really just an excuse to post that link.

Anyway, I'll post soon with details about my Christmas in Richmond (surprise sneak peak: we ate a lot), just as soon as I get photos from anyone who was there and took photos and wants to send them to me!


  1. I think you are remiss in not mentioning how although the train that you sister took was longer, it contained a much lower percentage of annoying whiners and in fact had a food car with decent sandwiches that didn't cost $15. And awesome leg room. And however short the flight is there is no way to escape the hours in the airport, which is probably the worst place on earth designed by humans without the express purpose of making the inhabitants suffer. It's like a lame mall except no one is allowed to leave. And to make it worse they make you feel like like an inmate in county lock-up because they take away anything that might possibly be a weapon, make you strip down, and talk sternly to you if you have contraband in your bag. And by contraband, I of course mean liquid water, the most prevalent thing on earth. I mean, really, WATER?!!! Who decided that shit?!! But yeah, funny clip, people totally do overreact about plane travel!

  2. I guess that means you didn't enjoy your multiple flights home?

  3. Actually all four of my flights went very well, no delays at all! But they did steal the squash dip stuff that I got as a gift while I was there... And they weren't very nice about it :(