19 March 2014

Up, Up, & Away!

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Flying. Ugh. I’ve been doing a lot of it lately, and while part of me is thankful I’m not having to sojourn across vast wastelands (read: Texas) in a car or bus, I do get tired of the airport scene. Let’s get positive for a minute though, and look at the perks of flying the friendly skies:

- Free catalogs and magazines to peruse. Sure, you can also enjoy these at the dentist office while you’re waiting for your personal nightmare to commence, but does the dentist have Sky Mall? Absolutely not. You’re not going to be able to purchase a cat litter box that doubles as a night stand just anywhere. And for the serious reader, forget Reader’s Digest- that hullaballoo is for the birds! When you’re flying AA, you have access to  American Way in-flight magazine. I hear that the articles are written at cruising altitude to better resonate with passengers who feel like they’ve lost touch with terrestrial-based publications.

[Editor’s note: This month’s American Way highlights Portlandia’s Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisan. Carrie says, “We haven’t explored nature too much on Portlandia, whereas Portland is brimming with it. I spend a lot of time hiking, walking, and bicycling in and around the city. Mount Tabor is stunning.” A new life goal of mine: meet Carrie Brownstein on a bicycle.]

- Checked luggage. I walked up to the ticket counter earlier today and handed over one generic suitcase and one Dahon folding bicycle. Are both of those items aboard this flight with me? It’s definitely within the realm of possibility; and if so, how neat is that!?

- Beverage service. Thirsty? Flag down a flight attendant who will first make you feel guilty about bothering them, and then provide you with a cup of tepid water. For free! And if you’re lucky, you’ll get a complimentary napkin. There is literally no where else on planet Earth I can think of right now where you can drink airplane water for free.

- Social stratification. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like upper-class Americans spend way too much time rubbing elbows with us common folk, and aside from generally being in bad taste, it just sends the wrong message to the kids, you know? Not on an airplane! You will know exactly where you stand in terms of accumulated wealth, because it will be on either side of a sliding curtain. Are you sitting in a seat that rivals Inspector Gadget? You’re doing well for yourself! Are you sitting between two sweaty, uncomfortable strangers? You’re not quite as affluent!

All kidding aside, modern technology is terrific. And flying, as monotonous as it can get, really makes it easy to travel the world without getting scurvy. I’m very happy to be living in an age where I can write this on a computer, inside an airplane flying at 30,000 feet, then send it to the internet over radio waves for all six of you to read. And lucky you, dear reader, for being able to read it wherever you are. Unless you’re also aboard an airplane, in which case you need to turn off all electronic devices as we prepare for departure.

- Bicyclist Abroad  Aboard American Airlines

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