I don't like take-offs. Never have. Maybe if the pilot left the ground on a less-steep angle then I'd be a little more inclined to be able to relax during flights. But, I always have this feeling that the plane is going to capsize and I'm going to perish right there on some tarmac at Hartsfield-Jackson airport. I had planned on a much more elaborate way to kick the bucket.
It was a whirlwind trip last week. I needed to head to Pittsburgh to see my doctor, so I thought I'd go there via Cleveland or Akron so it would give me a chance to see the family. Mother Nature almost prevented this trip from happening. St. Louis has had record-rainfall during the month of October, and this huge swath of ominous-looking weather appeared imminent around take-off time. But, a break in the action allowed us to leave for Atlanta on-time. No lightning. No torrential downpours. No capsizing.
I find it interesting that airplane travel continues to be one of the safest modes of transportation. But, sitting there in my window-seat, I also realize that my life is in the hands of a couple of people whom I've never met. At 33,000 feet, there's nothing I can do to spare my life should something go dreadfully wrong up there in the cockpit. And if something does go wrong, I can't even have a final meal. Those little bags of pretzels just don't stack up as fitting culinary fare.
Leaving Atlanta for Akron, I thought of several more things that irk me about air travel:
* I understand the debacle involving obscenely obese people versus the size of seats; however, the seats are incredibly small! If I ever had the extra 49 bucks for the Business Class upgrade, I think I'd do it.
* Can the FAA put on the do-not-fly list anyone who feels compelled to tilt back in their seat? Talk about lack of space. It's an hour flight, people. Can't you wait to get to your hotel room to sleep?
* I don't like to check bags, either. It's annoying to have to go to Baggage Claim and wait for the carousel to spit out your luggage. But if a carry-on bag can't fit in the airport, then it should not be allowed to be brought on to the plane and attempted to be jammed in to the luggage space above the seats. Whatever happened to that little steel box they used to have that stated "if your bag can't fit in this box than it has to be checked"?
* What happened to all the hot flight attendants? I think standards are lacking a bit.
* If an airliner traveling at 400 miles-per-hour is headed into the ocean, is that seat belt really going to help me? I don't think I need it, really. The guy in front of me is leaning back and has pinned me in, anyway.
* On Southwest flights, I'm always in Group "C". And on Airtran, it always seems that I'm in Zone 7. Oh, well.
Even with all my incessant whining about the airplane experience, all of my flights were on-time and without incident. When there are no delays or cancellations, I suppose that's a reason to celebrate.
After renting a car, I drove over to Pittsburgh for my appointment. I miss Pittsburgh. It looked great! The fall foliage on Mount Washington was in full grandeur and it was a mild, enjoyable day, weather-wise. I can't say that I miss all of the Steelers' gear, but I saw equally as many people sporting Penguins colors, so I suppose that made it bearable. I also drove past the Pens' new arena, and it looks fantastic. The only thing I wasn't impressed with was the higher toll fees on both the Ohio and the Pennsylvania turnpikes.
Aside from getting a brief visit with the parents, I also was able to see my high school play football on Friday night. Coincidentally, it was a game against our arch-rivals, the Central Catholic Crusaders. My brother Mark, my sister Ann, and I stood behind the end zone and watched the game, which just so happened to turn in to a 21-7 win for the St. Thomas Aquinas Knights. I must have been "good luck", because we haven't beaten Central in 6 years. Because of the win, I allowed myself to indulge in a couple pints of Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold afterwards at Krause's. It always tastes better after beating your arch-rival.
Then, it was back to the airport to re-trace my steps on the journey home to St. Louis. A short, quick, but good trip home. It looks like we'll be headed home for Thanksgiving, too. So, the airline industry only has a couple of weeks to fix all of their problems. If some guy leans back into my space next time, I should at least get two bags of those pretzels. Or maybe a Business Class upgrade!
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