I recently was able to take a flight to SLC, Utah to see family and celebrate the new marriage of my cousin, Beka. I always get really anxious when I am flying. I'm always sitting there and imagining the worst. This time, though, I was able to look at flying as something to laugh about.
I start with the time we "have to" arrive at the airport. They suggest two hours before your flight so you can check-in luggage and go through security. I'm 100% convinced that in reality this is a giant scam to get people to buy their expensive food and magazines. We will return to this later. So now that you're at the airport, super early, you must go through security. Here, you are forced to strip down to socks and underwear. They then make you go through the scanner to make sure there is nothing hiding under your skin. They will even pull you aside if you "look suspicious" to go through your bag. I will have you know that at the age of 13 I was pulled aside.
So, after clothing yourself you set off for your terminal. As you walk you hear the annoying sounds of everyone's wheels as they roll across the floor. For some strange reason you are anxious to get to your terminal, even though you will be sitting there for at least a hour and a half, so you hurry through the crowd to get there. When you find your terminal you frantically look for a seat. If you are traveling with someone you might as well forget about sitting next to them. For some reason all the lone riders have beat you there and are each sitting every other seat so there are no two seats together.
Now that you are seated you pull out the three books and two magazines that you brought to keep you entertained. You always start with the book in hopes that you'll get wrapped in it and the time will fly by. But you are interrupted about every two minutes by the clam voice reminding you not to smoke in your terminal. After enough interruptions you decide to go for the magazine. It's easier to get interrupted while reading one of those. It doesn't seem to take long, though, that your magazine is wildly uninteresting and that you are starting to feel restless. You want to go wonder around but there's a pretty good chance that you will loose your seat and you have to haul all of your luggage around with you. But the restlessness gets to be too much and you stand up and head off.
As you're walking through the airport you get the thrill of people watching. You can see hundreds of people in hundreds of different situations. You see the young family with mom clearly pushed to her edge as her son is saying for the nine hundredth time, "Which plane is ours?" Then there's Dad digging his nose deeper in the newspaper in hopes to avoid the "please help me" look from his wife. Then we have the traveling business man. He's there on his laptop doing work while on his iPhone taking an obviously important call. Then, my favorite, the people heading to Hawaii. No matter where you are there is always a bunch seeming to head there. They're all sitting in flip flops and the most Hawaii-ingy shirt they own. They seem to mention that they're going to Hawaii every other ten minutes-as if it's not obvious enough.
So , after people watching you start to notice some shops up ahead. Inside you see everything you could possibly want. They have every magazine in the world, along side big bags of candy, peanuts, and a lot of books. They also have bottles and bottles of water, soda, juice, and gatorade. You remember the boring magazine you have and are suddenly thirsty and in the mood for something sweet. So, you make your way over to the candy and such but your sudden cravings are covered by shock....every thing costs more than your plane ticket. Ok, slight exaggeration, but slight. I can't believe they can charge $5.00 for a bottled water. Are people really that desperate to get water that the stores can jack up the price that much? I guess so, considering they don't let you bring any type of liquid into the place. It really just blows my mind!!!
Well, after a lot of wondering and a little bit of shock therapy you realize it's getting close to your "take off" time, so you head back to your terminal. Every flight is different of how they load people on and how you get a seat. Southwest gives you a letter and number based on what time you checked in. You then have open seating and are free to sit where ever you please. On my flight home I was the 9th to last person to board. I was forced to sit in the very back of the airplane because every row was sat...person next to window, open seat, person next to aisle. It's really inconvenient to ask someone to move over one seat when all their crap is already spread out in the "in between" seat. Don't these people know that it's an airplane packed with people....just sit next to the stranger they are not going to bite!
So, you are seated and buckled in. The flight attendants start to show you the safety precautions as the plane is moving. I noticed, yesterday, that I was the only person paying attention. So, if there was an accident, I guess I would be the only one to know what to do. You are now forced to sit next to a stranger for at least an hour and a half, if not more, while the plane, for all I understand, magically flies through the air. You try your book again or attempt to sleep on the most uncomfortable seats you have ever slept on. For some strange reason, you impatiently wait for the smallest bag of peanuts you have ever seen in your life. Someone sneezes and you think how gross it is that their snot is just floating around waiting to find someone else to enter into. Kids are starting to get restless and run up and down the aisle or start to ask if we are there yet. Pretty much, it's the worst experience of your life.
The plane starts to land and there is always turbulence. You also wonder why the flight attendants don't have to sit in their seat belts if we do. Once you've landed and pulled up to the gate you take off your seat belt in relief. Then everyone stands up at the exact same time to try and exit at the exact same time and everyone is congested for a good ten minutes. Finally, you are able to exit. As your walking back through the airport waiting to find whoever it is you are meeting, you, for some crazy strange reason, think to yourself...man, I love to fly.