Trip of Errors, Part 2
June 21, 2007
A little under a year ago, I embarked on a house hunting trip to Boston. But not one to be contented with a direct flight, I took a 6 am flight from Milwaukee, with a stop in Detroit (That’s Rock City to you, folks). Surprisingly, things went fine. All the flights were on schedule, and after surviving a heatwave, I ended up finding an apartment in what was then a zombie-free Davis Square. Of course, my luck with round-about flights ended with my epic-length journey to Israel ending solely in dissatisfaction and the Star Alliance Overnight Male Grooming Kit.
I booked passage on a standard one-stop US-London-Tel Aviv flight. I didn’t have too much time to change flights, but it wasn’t disconcertingly little, either. And even though I wasn’t able to check-in early, I did eventually talk my way into an aisle seat. In other words, things went well until thunderstorms west of Chicago delayed us three hours and I missed my connection. In London, I went through security than waited on a queue for an hour to be rebooked. I tried to get on the next BA flight, but they wouldn’t confirm me a seat. They instead offered me a seat on a flight to Vienna, then a flight from Vienna to Tel Aviv. I took it, then called my dad for about a minute to book me a hotel room in Tel Aviv (eventually, I learned that that phone call cost me 30 dollars). I switched terminals, went through another security queue, waiting on line at the ticket counter, and got my seat. Then I waited, calling my dad to ask him about the hotel room (another 30 dollar call). The best he could find me was a one-bedroom business person’s suite. There went my cheap summer. By the time I finally got to Tel Aviv, my luggage was nowhere to be found. I called my dad again to let him know (another 30–not a joke). It’s been two-days and its whereabouts are still unknown. The airline was kind enough to give me a grooming kit, however. I maintain it’s because I told them I was a Roman citizen.
I would now like to offer a few tips for improving air-travel as one who has been so recently wronged:
1. Model Flight Attendants. India’s Kingfisher airlines employs only models, outfitting them in designer costumes. This should hold true for the male flight attendants as well as the female flight attendants. I’m not saying the airline needs to go all Hooters Air and introduce non-airline employees into the equation. I’m merely suggesting they take aesthetics into consideration (on that note–redesign the uniforms!). Also, my only criteria is that the applicant have modelling experience. They could be a traditional model, plus-size model, or hand model (ala George), for all I care. This bullet point is about posturing.
2. Better Baggage Service. Instead of giving our luggage to an airline employee and then having it disappear perhaps to appear again at the other side, I suggest that each passenger have the option of personally throwing their baggage onto the plane. The airline can even charge for this option, the “baggage handler reality experience.” Also, bike racks on the roof of the plane would be nice.
3. Dinner Theater. Have you ever noticed that many airplane employees like to make little jokes over the speaker to entertain the passengers? Usually these involve people standing up before the seat-belt sign has been lifted. Why not take this idea and run with it. Have the crew actually perform scenes from various plays. I know my flight to London would have been much better with some Gilbert and Sullivan thrown in for good measure.
4. Game room. Legalized gambling on all flights. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
5. Peter Bogdanovich. Like almost all Criterion Collection DVDs, whatever movie the airline decides (nay, deigns) to show should be introduced with analysis by Peter Bogdanovich. Although some may argue that it is impossible for Mr. Bogdanovich to be on all those flights simultaneously, I contend that human cloning technology is sufficient to create an army of Peter Bogdanovichi. That or we can steal his image and mechanically reproduce it.
6. Singalongs. Use the power of music to bring us together! Bring back public singing, bring back public love! Really, any group bonding experience should suffice. People on the flight with you aren’t just other people travelling to that city, they’re your countrymen, your companions, dare I say it, your friends. Besides, you never know who’ll you’ll meet in those blue skies.