Traveling on major holidays goes against all that is logical to me.
What we do for familial harmony.
For me, a nine-hour plus drive almost trumps a one and a half hour flight.
Take our recent Thanksgiving holiday (?) trip up to Portland.
Forget about the accumulated time of driving to the airport, parking amongst the sea of other look-alike late model cars (and forgetting to note in which section we parked), and then running to the shuttle bus stop, while dragging our so-called rolling suitcases, as they bounced boisterously behind us, only to see the bus drive off into the pouring rain.
And, you don’t even need to include the time it takes to get through the interminable humanity of rubes who apparently have never heard of 3-1-1, let alone understand the concept of emptying their pockets before getting in line for the TSA gauntlet.
You can even ignore the boarding process commitment of patience while some cretin—make that numerous cretins—clog the aisle as they hoist their massive carry-on bags into the overhead bins, only to remember that they really need to dig something out, which apparently is in the bottom of their bag.
I will even give you the time spent during the disembarkment procedure that resembles the painful process of a long line of cars pulling forward at a green light; you can see movement up ahead, just not directly in front of you.
Don’t even add the anxious time waiting for your suitcase to show up on the luggage carousel, as you awfulize about your stuff having gone to PDV (Bulgaria) instead of PDX.
Then you still must get the final miles to your destination, which might mean yet more planes, trains, and automobiles; don’t even worry about those hours.
I will give you all that (which clearly creates a multiplier of many minutes to that advertised 1½ hour flight), but what may serve as a deal breaker for any future—hopefully never in my lifetime—holiday travel, is the paradigm of the current airline business model.
That being the formerly friendly skies in which: they have reduced available flights to ensure full planes (more passengers, equals more fares per flight); they have maximized the number of seats per aircraft (more passengers, equals more fares per flight); they charge for every possible amenity and eliminate as many others as possible (less free stuff for passengers equals more profit per flight); and…well, you get the idea.
On our recent excursion, I came the closest I have ever been on an airliner to suffering a severe case of the heebie-jeebies.
Note, this was less of a legitimate medical issue, and more of just being damned tired of being herded into a narrow holding area, in conditions the FDA would not approve for barnyard animals.
The fact is that there is just not enough room to do ANYTHING while in—what is euphemistically identified as—an airline seat.
While I can barely move my knees when the seats are in their “full upright and locked position,” as soon as the plane gets off the ground and the person in front decides to put their seat into the full downright and in my face position, I often end up with my nose almost pressing against the seat in front of me.
The only way I have any chance of lowering my tray table is if I do the same to the guy behind me that is being done to me by the guy in front of me.
Speaking of in-flight etiquette: depending on how brave you are, there is a solution on the market, which will at least preserve a couple of inches of room to breathe.
From a story I heard on This American Life on NPR, (and read in more detail on Gadling.com), they were discussing something called the Knee Defender™, which are basically two small clamps that are put on the tray table arms, thus preventing the seat in front of you from reclining.
But, I’m assuming any attempt on my part to deploy those seat tray clamps would likely not end well, with the air marshal cuffing me with his knee on my back as he has me splayed out, facedown in the aisle.
So, when I got home I looked online for something that might have allayed my mostly imagined imminent eruption.
I found numerous websites offering advice on flight-caused claustrophobia, including one from Lance Armstrong’s old affiliates at Livestrong.
I don’t suppose there is any chance that they would be recommending self-dosing of tryptophan, preferably by leg and thigh administration (the turkey’s, not mine, of course); TBF w/ ¼ sl. P-pie +WC.
(Come on…you can figure out that last item, can’t you?)
I wonder where would Lance hide a large turkey leg in those skin-tight bike shorts.
Wait…what do you mean that bulge was not all him?
Of course, a protest march on airport services held on the freeway probably would have delayed me, both by air and car, but at least those people had room to stretch out.
Wide lanes, so luxurious.