Monday, June 15, 2009

Up, Up & Away....

The first time I flew in an airplane was in 1973, when I went to Europe with a class trip. We flew to New York, where we had a long layover, and then to Luxembourg where we hopped a train, with all the hippies schlepping around Europe that summer. I can't remember what airline we flew from Ohio to New York. We flew Icelandic from there to Luxembourg, along with all the hippies. The meals were amazing. I tasted cognac for the first time on that trip, and a life-long love affair was born.

After spending my childhood taking long road trips with the 'rents, I discovered air travel, and I loved it.

In the years following college, I took a lot of trips on planes, I visited friends and relatives around the U. S. A few years after I graduated, I got a job that involved a lot of traveling, mostly to New York, Washington D. C. and San Francisco. We stayed in five star hotels and ate at extremely nice restaurants. Flying was fun. The stewardesses on Delta called the passengers "honey" and "sugah". They pretended they appreciated our business. They refrained from saying "bless your heart" to anyone but the total Yankees who wouldn't understand, anyway.

In the early 1980's, I married a man who hated to fly. We took one airplane trip together, and I swore I would never let him get on another plane, considering that my palms were positively bloody from his nails digging into them by the time we landed in Las Vegas. For most of the next twenty-plus years, we traveled only to places we could reach via four-wheeled motorized vehicle that did not leave the ground.

In recent years, I have had to travel occasionally for business and also on several occasions for last-minute trips to visit ailing parents. Flying in the post-9/11 world totally and completely sucks.

In the "olden" days, when a flight was delayed the airline apologized -- and often provided free drinks to soothe the jangled nerves once the passengers were aboard. These days, after hours and hours of delays, the airlines do not offer free drinks to anyone except first class (maybe). Hell, they don't even apologize!

Pardon me for being cranky: this was written after a delay of more than seven hours and three gate changes.

The good news was that my luggage arrived on the same plane as me. That's cause for celebration.

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