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Air Rage

Air Rage

So many recent headlines about air travel lately and none of them have been good. When I was a boy, air travel was special. People used to dress up in their finery and look forward to getting from here to there in hours instead of days.

Planes were never full. There was a flight to wherever you wanted to go. The stewardesses would bring you hot meals and cold drinks. They walked up and down the aisles looking to assist you however they could. They wore formal uniforms as you loaded and deplaned. During flights though, they often changed into much more casual, if not sexy outfits.

It was a highly anticipated, classy way to take a trip. Unlike today.

Air travel today is much akin to having that invasive medical procedure you know you must have but dreading every moment. A necessary evil.

Most of the news we get fed is about passenger air rage. Similar to road rage I assume, but much more significant in that it affects everyone on the plane and often causes group hysteria. While the airlines always blame this passenger or that, it is the airlines own procedures that set the table for whatever comes next.

It starts with getting a ticket reservation in the beginning. All of their websites are confusing and less than intuitive. The lowest ticket prices are great if you happen to be a basset hound or willing to serve as an organ donor for Donald Trump.

No roundtrip tickets either. Now you have to buy depart and return legs of a flight. Plus pay for luggage if you don't choose the appropriate legs. I'm not quite sure anymore how reserve seating works. Every time I want to get a seat assigned, the only seats available are in last three rows, in the middle, between a sumo wrestler and Jehovah's Witness on a mission.

So remind me again? Why do I have to buy a ticket that takes me 800 miles south, change planes, wait 3 hours, and then fly east? How about you just fly me east and lower your price? Pick up somebody in Denver or Dallas if you absolutely need to fill the damn plane.

September 11, hosed all of us. It gave big government and corporations an excuse to give us less and charge us more. Entire industries were created. Homeland Security is really just a form of martial law. TSA really means "Those Security Assholes." Most of us saw September 11 as a horrific terrorist's attack on America. Those in power winked and elbowed each other and whispered: "There's money to be made."

We have to arrive 2-3 hours early and say goodbye at the curb. Friends and family can't even wait with you anymore. Then we stand in roped lines like cattle to slaughter. We get stripped, we get x-rayed, we get felt up, scanned, demeaned and mad dogged by people you wouldn't even let mow your yard in most cases.

Everyone is suddenly a badge polisher with ambitions of power. Including and especially the flight attendants.

Then we have those inconsiderate fliers who bring three pieces of luggage, a laptop, their purses, their jackets and bags full of gifts for their destined visit. Always keeping everyone waiting impatiently to get to their seats and always hogging all of the overhead storage.

By the time you get to your assigned seat and discover that YOUR seat is broken, doesn't recline, and your airflow director doesn't quite turn far enough to be of any help. The sumo wrestler is halfway into your seat space, and the Jehovah's Witness is chanting Bible verse in a Cookie Monster voice, you are borderline insane.

Air rage. Almost understandable. Of course, I'm not excusing asshole fliers who drink too much, think they are entitled, insult flight attendants or otherwise annoy me by playing music too loud or think everyone on the plane wants to hear their voice above all else. Don't bother turning the plane around and calling security. Just open the hatch, and I'll toss their ass out.

Why do we always make things harder than they have to be? We all agree that flying today is crap, but we make it even crappier on our own.

So here are Doc Johnson's proposed Rules of Flying…

1.  Airlines will sell round trip tickets to where I want to go. One price, luggage included. Front row, aisle seat. I know some people want to break their flights down in different legs, but fuck them. If I go someplace, I want to get back.

2.  Airlines will fly me in a straight line to where I want to go, no layovers. If you aren't on the plane, when I get on, tough shit.

3.  All luggage is checked. No carry-ons. None. Nada. Zippo. Get your ass through the scanner and find your damn seat.

4.  If a plane is scheduled to leave at 10:15, I want to be in the air, seat reclined, air flow device gently caressing my face. I don't want to hear about any delays or bullshit routines of waiting for people to board.

5.  Sumo wrestlers, Jehovah's Witnesses, people with children, heavy drinkers and generally annoying characters all have to stay at least ten rows behind me. If seats are unavailable, they can stack outside the restrooms at the rear of the plane.

6.  If I want my seat reclined when taking off and landing, it's on me. I want to be comfortable. Besides, shut up.

7.  When we have landed, people stay seated until I have deplaned and retrieved my luggage from baggage claim area. Don't be trying to crowd me out getting your cheap ass taped up, rope tied 1970's mom and pop luggage.

8.  Lastly, anyone who had to stack outside the restrooms at the rear of the plane, DO NOT EVEN THINK OF FLYING BACK ON MY RETURN FLIGHT.

Air rage is like a swinging door. It swings open but will most likely swing back and smack you in the face. Flying today isn't someplace you want to take yourself too seriously. Besides, once you take your seat, all of the crap is behind you.

Unless you sit in my row.


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