Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sky of Blue

The two fighters squared off in the cage as one of them unloaded a huge right hand toward his opponent’s chin.

I tensed up, anticipating a brutal knockout. This was going to be a haymaker and—shame on me--I was actually looking forward to it.

And then suddenly I was watching CNN.

What the hell--?

I was flying back from L.A. on JetBlue, where I was shoehorned into a window seat at the southernmost section of the plane, and the guy next to me had inadvertently changed the channel on my TV—and ruined the fight clip--when he moved his elbow.

“Uh, sorry,” he mumbled.

Yeah, pal, me, too. I was tempted to throw a flying armbar on this stiff, but it really wasn’t his fault. We were stuck in a flying sardine can where you couldn’t help but invade someone’s space.

The flight out from New York was no bargain either. Once again I was crammed into the window seat--fear of heights, people, hello?--where a young woman sitting next to me had put her head on the food tray upon takeoff and promptly slipped into a coma.

I’m hardly one to complain about airborne stupors, given my blatant Xanax binges, but I was tempted to check this lady for a pulse. A short time later, when I was realized I was trapped in my seat, I was tempted to poke her with a cattle prod.

I’m willing to overlook the cramped seats and two-mile hikes down the length of the airplane because I like JetBlue and enjoyed the fact that they didn’t hit me with a bogus 20-buck baggage fee.

But that’s all changing. JetBlue recently announced that it’s introducing a three-tier pricing system, sticking the third class passengers with that baggage fee, cramming more seats into their planes, and, unbelievably, reducing leg space. I hope they don’t try to reduce my legs.

You’re Cleared for Rip-Off

Supposedly the new seats will be lighter and thinner than the current model, but I don’t care. It still means more bodies in the air and I’m wondering if they’ll be nailing seats to the ceiling next.

JetBlue’s president said the plan "delivers improved, sustainable profitability for our investors, the best travel experience for our customers and ensures a strong, healthy company for our crew members."

Just focus on the first few words here, that bit about “sustainable profitability for our investors.” That’s all you need to know.

Now Southwest Airlines is the only major U.S. carrier still offering two free checked bags on domestic routes.

I remember when none of the airlines charged for baggage. They also served full free meals—not the cheese and crackers routine—and gave away the earplugs instead of charging for them.

The flights I took already had the class system set-up, starting with Mint, followed by Even More, and then my section, which I like to call Even Less.

I know money talks, but it seems now like it’s stopped talking and started shouting—“hooray for me and screw you!” The one percent rules and if you don’t have the money keep walking until you reach the end of the plane.

God knows I’d go straight for Mint if I had a mint. But I wonder if our increasingly divided society will drive some people to cut corners, take chances, or flat out steal to get ahead.

As a reporter, I get regular press releases from the FBI’s New York office and hardly a week goes by that the feds don’t announce they’ve nailed some loser for embezzlement, stock fraud or some other flimflam involving tons of money.

It’s turning into an ugly world and it’s important to keep that harsh attitude from infecting your spirit. Remember to be compassionate, loving, and kind.

And watch where you put your goddamn elbows.


Bijoux said...

Flying is brutal. I've been lucky enough to be seated with my family, but I'm not sure you can even pick your seats ahead of time any longer?

Ron said...

"Now Southwest Airlines is the only major U.S. carrier still offering two free checked bags on domestic routes."

Yes, Rob, which is why the last four times I flew, I took Southwest, but I know they don't fly to certain parts of the States.

Hasn't flying turned into such a horrible experience? I mean, I'm a very small person, but even I find the seats too small and too close together. The last time I flew the plane was packed to capacity. And like you, I had a window seat with two other people sitting next to me. I felt like a sardine!

"I remember when none of the airlines charged for baggage. They also served full free meals—not the cheese and crackers routine—and gave away the earplugs instead of charging for them."


GREAT post, buddy! And I love the photographs you used!

Hope you're feeling better and have a super week!

Rob K said...

Hey, Ron, you are sooooo right--flying has turned into a truly horrible experience. How do the airlines expect people to travel like this?

Animals aren't treated this badly!

Thanks for stopping by, buddy, and do take care!

Rob K said...

@Bijoux--yes, flying has turned into some kind of endurance test. I believe you can pick your own seats, but I never seem to get it right.

Take care and take Amtrak!

Anonymous said...

Well then this was a break from your normally scheduled uplifting posts...but good for you to get it out! You are absolutely right! The way money rules the world we live in is disgusting! Comfort goes out the window for profit EVERY TIME! You should write a letter to Jet Blue about your experience!

Rob K said...

Hey, Shae! I wasn't going to write about the JetBlue experience but then I saw the baggage fee story and got rather annoyed.

I'd write to the airline, but I'm sure they'd drown me in a barrel of corporate-speak.

Take care and keep 'em flying!

Stephanie Faris said...

Yikes. I fly about every 5 years, but my husband flies for work a couple of times a month or more. He's never flown Jet Blue...I'm not sure why. He uses one of those travel sites and books the cheapest flight and I guess it never comes up? I'm claustrophobic, though, so I'd definitely pay the extra to not be crammed in next to someone for hours.

Rob K said...

That's probably the best plan, Stephanie. If you've got the money, fly in comfort.