Plane Life

Many of you know that I travel more than your average worker.   I fly all over the United States working with local unions.   It’s a great job with plenty of stress, but I enjoy it.   One of the benefits and problems of flying is that airplanes are full of people who are at their worst.

I do believe that one cannot be mad at people stressing out.  En route traveling is a terrible scene.  Normally, I just laugh at people.   This week was great for laughing.

I was flying Southwest Airlines (I fly US Airways, as I have status, but I am budget minded for work these days, so I ended up on Southwest.)   I was transferring from at Chicago Midway to get on a flight to Minneapolis when I saw the following scene.

It was a full flight and there were no extra seats to be had, so some people were stuck to the dreaded Southwest middle seat.    I found myself in the second aisle from the back next to a mother and infant daughter.   It was desperate times.  The flight attendants had put the trays down on 6 successive seats.   Whenever anyone tried to sit down they would fake smile and say “These are for a family of 6,” with eyes that said keeping walking fuck bag.

A hippy woman in her forties or fifties with big jewelry and a mola skirt moved in to take a seat.  

“I’m sorry ma’am, but these are reserved for a party of six,” said Big Smile. Eyes looking for a challenge.

“I thought there were no reservations?” asks the hippy.    Her breath has started to accelerate.   Completely exasperated she throws her hands in the air and sits on an aisle seat near me. “I can’t believe this,” she mumbles.  Big Smile’s eyes exposed her joy from this victory.

To be honest, I never believed there was a family of 6.   I figured it was a full flight and it’s a tactic they use to create a moving buffer.   Known seats for last minutes stragglers, a place where people can be swapped out of in case of a problem.  The families had already boarded so the lie didn’t make much sense, but who cares.   They told us it was a completely full flight.

Southwest proved me correct.  Two last minute travelers came in and Big Smile escorted them to the empty seats.  Hippy sprung to action and bolted 3 rows back to take the other empty row of 3 seats.   She was behind me at this point. 

“They need to understand that I am really stressed out right now,” announced the hippy.

“Where do they get off?” responded the guy across the aisle.  (Where in the hell did he come from?  Go back to your stupid 786 habits of boring people book.)   “Nothing you did was wrong,” he concluded.

This woman got what she thought she rightly deserved.   She didn’t need to sit next to anyone.  She was alone.  Her breathing was labored, but she was free of people.   Then to my utter joy 3 people boarded the plane, and that malicious Big Smile swooped. 

“Two of you can sit right here,”  she beckoned down the aisle.   Hippy let out an almost silent moan of dread.   Every seat was full and we took off.

I liked Big Smile, she made me laugh with astonishment.   Hippy was having a bad day, but I hate people who reek of entitlement. If you are not in a good place, do not ever look for sympathy on an airplane.


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