Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Air Fright

If anyone is anticipating flying somewhere, it might help to know what could, maybe, possibly, might happen to you. I've been flying for 50 years, and the flight I just took to Seattle is the first one I can label a nightmare. I'm a nice quiet person, but this last trip brought out the beast in me, and I'm surprised I wasn't put off the plane. Looking back, I suppose it's a good thing I wasn't put off, because an irate old lady being put off a plane should certainly have a camera rolling, and I don't think one was poised to shoot the scene.

A few years ago I stopped carrying a purse in addition to a carry-on bag (easier that way), and I learned the airlines minimum size requirement for a bag to put under the seat in front of me. Then I bought and carried a bag very much within those measurements that held my medications, my inhaler, food, money, credit cards and ID, a light blanket, kleenex and my crossword book and pen. Until my recent trip, everything worked without a hitch, so little did I suspect an onslaught was about to begin.

While I waited for my initial flight, an attendant put a "gate claim baggage" flyer on the handle of my carry-on case, and this told me right away they planned to confiscate my bag upon entering the plane. So I discretely removed the flyer, put it in my pocket and entered the plane with my best innocent old-lady smile. Got away with that one.

But changing planes in Houston was a different story. When I entered the plane, an attendant pounced on me and grabbed for my bag. "All of the overhead bins are full," she smirked. I grabbed back and said, "No. This goes under my seat."

Well, this started a tug-of-war between us that I eventually won, thinking that was the end of our encounter. Wrong. When they did their last check before take off, I knew that attendant wasn't through with me. She stopped by my seat, hands on her hips and threw out her heavy chest demanding my bag again. We went back and forth with my pleading and her demanding I surrender my bag. Then I exploded, and every time she opened her mouth, I put my foot in it with cuss words I'd kept in check for many years. The whole cabin gaped at the show they had not anticipated, but obviously enjoyed. The attendant smirked again and said, "I'll get my supervisor." And I blurted, "Yeah, why don't you **** just do that."

Next here came an attendant wearing a spiked hair do and a menacing look. She glared at me with a sickening grin and said, "If you need your medicine, we will get it from your bag in the overhead bin. (I thought the overhead bins were full) Then we can work together....can't we!"

With both feet on top of my bag I yelled, "No way. You will not have this bag." Both attendants straightened up, grunted big time and replied, "Well, if there's a problem, we will take it." And, harumph. They stomped away. Then I cried from pure stress, glad the whole mess had ended.

By the way, the person sitting next to me had stuff under the seat in front of her consisting of a dog in a carrier, a giant tote bag, a heavy sweater and an Ipod, with no room for her feet, while my feet sat comfortably on either side of my bag.

I've really been running on about this, but I just wanted to warn you to be prepared for surprises you may not anticipate on your next airline trip. Some attendants are ruthless.

I wish you only harmonious flights



  1. M,
    Even after hearing this story yesterday I cringe at what you were put through. I guess the lady beside you was glad they were looking at you and not her! I can imagine the letter you'll be sending to the airlines will be smoking! Good thing!

    At least you made it home safely. This is a good thing.

  2. oh my, thank you for the warning.

    1. Hi Liz, I just found out how to reply to your comment for my post, Air Fright, 9/21/11, so here I am. Happy to hear from you, and thanks for your comment. I hope all of your air flights are pleasant.