Flying By The Seat of…

30 10 2005

Years ago I suppose it meant something when they called them airliners, since the service they gave you reminded you of the service you got on ocean liners. They fed you, they entertained you, they let you walk around and bother other passengers.

In general, a good deal.

Nowadays, I’d use another word in there – airbusses. Because they remind me of busses, in particular the M5 bus that I used to take from Lincoln Center to Soho — that is, packed, uncomfortable, and without any of the amenities that those foolish overpaying people in limousines would have.

Having just spent two successive weekends on two airbus flights — one to New York and this past few days to Salt Lake City — I can tell you that anyone who says they enjoy flying is either on drugs or, more likely, on drugs and in first class. There is no food, no entertainment without tons of commercials, and there is no moving around the cabin, unless you want to fight the little food carts that fill up the teeny-tiny aisles and which seem to have no use whatsoever — since they don’t dispense food, only tiny packets with a few ounces of baked carbohydrates with salt inside them.

The only trick that I’ve discovered to help me out is to do your e-ticket check in at the airport and, when offered the opportunity to change seats, to press YES. This will usually give you a little map of the airbus with its empty seats all conveniently marked. I can then choose the aisle seat that is surrounded by as many empty seats as there are.

Of course, this only works if there are empty seats.

Oh, by the way, that picture at the top there is a shot of a little stream at the Sundance Resort where the conference I was attending was held (it’s taken by my very low resolution Treo phone, so I apologize for that). There is something very weird about getting off a crowded airplane, hopping a shuttle van and then ending up in a place like this. Weird, but definitely good.

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