I flew to and from Indianapolis, Indiana this past weekend (as readers are wearily familiar by now), and it gave me another opportunity to interact with that most loathsome of institutions, the American airline.
Honestly, I was blessed with two easy, uneventful flights—no delays, no missed connections, no overly officious airport functionaries. I even got two Coke Zeroes on my flight up.
One jarring element of flying was the abundance of mask propaganda at the airport. Living in South Carolina—free territory—I seldom have to wear a mask anywhere anymore, so wearing one on the plane was a bit shocking. A friend reminded me that I would need one, and that gaiters are not allowed, so I begrudgingly took a pack along.
In the Charlotte, North Carolina airport, one guy asked me, as I got into the security line, if I had a mask. I started fumbling for it in my pocket, and he said, “You’re good.” Apparently, he just wanted to ask make sure I had one so they wouldn’t boot me off the plane. I did put it on before passing through security (where you have to pull it down so they can check your face against your ID), but ripped it off again as soon as possible.
I’m still blown away by how many folks wear them, but especially at the airport. Out of the hundreds of people I saw, I was probably one of five people in the entire Charlotte airport not wearing a mask. In the Indianapolis airport, there were even fewer facial nudists.
Regardless, it seems like a lot of the mask hysteria has died down. Yeah, there was tons of mask propaganda plastered all over the Charlotte airport, and the flight attendants made a big deal about it rhetorically on the flights (especially the one from Indianapolis back to Charlotte), but I got the impression that if I wanted to sit maskless for the entire flight, no one would bother me about it.
The airline industry is probably the worst of all about treating human beings like cattle to be herded mindlessly on board flying metal tubes. Probably only credit agencies are worse, and at least on a plane you get some pretzels (thanks to the peanut allergy folks for ruining something else for us). I don’t think TransUnion is going to send me any treats anytime soon.
So if airlines are cooling on the mask hysteria, we might finally—finally—putting that absurdity behind us.
Anyway, I didn’t mean to go on a mask rant, but here we are.
With that, here is “Wayback Wednesday: Airlines; Back to the Grind“:
I’m doing more retrospective/throwback posts here at the end of the year. The end of the year is always a good time for reflections, but I’m also on the move in these last, dying days of 2020, so I’m trying to log posts in advance.
Indeed, today I’m hopping a flight to Mobile, Alabama, with my ultimate destination being a small town in George County, Mississippi. My girlfriend and I are going to spend a few days with her folks before driving back to South Carolina after the New Year.
She might not appreciate this fact, but it’s reminiscent of a summer trip to New Jersey with my last girlfriend (although it went in reverse: she and I drove up to New Jersey together, and I flew back solo). I can never seem to date anyone whose parents live twenty minutes away—or even within easy driving distance. New Jersey, now Mississippi—where next? Here’s hoping I never date anyone from Alaska (although that would be cool); really, let’s hope I never have to hit the ruthless dating market again!
I don’t like flying. I’m not scared of it, it’s just a pain—you can’t take shampoo and fingernail clippers with you because some Muslim jerks destroyed the Twin Towers. I might be a jerk sometimes, but c’mon—do I look like someone who is going to hijack a plane with nose-hair tweezers? Let’s apply a little discriminatory common sense here.
But here I am, yet again hopping a couple of flights to distant, sleepy locales. With that, here is Summer 2019’s “Airlines; Back to the Grind“:
It’s a very late post today. Readers will know that yesterday was the end of a weeklong trip to New Jersey (you can read the full account of my trip at my SubscribeStar page). A delayed takeoff from Newark meant I missed my connecting flight in Charlotte, so I had to wait around for a later flight. Fortunately, I had a collection of ghost stories to keep me company, but the delays meant getting in fairly late, and with little energy for mental endeavors.
I recall reading a National Review critique of airlines and their incompetent inability to get people where they need to be. I think Kevin Williamson wrote it, but I was unable to find it. I did, however, find hundreds of blog posts and pieces on NRO about airlines and their shortcomings, perhaps reflecting the preoccupations of the coastal elites who write for the publication.
I haven’t flown since 2012. I don’t like it. It doesn’t scare me, but it is incredibly tedious, a lot of “hurry up and wait.” The security Kabuki theatre, the crazy packing restrictions, the usurious fees, the notorious unreliability—it’s a headache. Driving is vastly preferable. Yes, yes, it’s more likely to result in death, but at least I can stop and eat when I want to.
I flew American Airlines, which is, apparently, notoriously bad. That short Williamson blog post linked above is about how American Airlines required soldiers to pay extra baggage fees for military gear they brought on flights during deployments, requiring soldiers to file for a reimbursement with the military after the fact. Yikes!
The logistics of managing thousands of flights a day, in all manner of weather conditions across the globe, must be incredibly difficult, so I’m not without sympathy for airlines. But, good grief, it seems that we could figure out a better way. Flying in 2019 is pretty much what it was like when I flew as a kid for the first time around 1990 or 1991, just with more rules, less free stuff, and worse food. Thanks to people pretending to have peanut allergies, they don’t even give those out anymore!
Anyway, I’m sitting down to write this at 9:30 PM because it was immediately back to the grind today. That’s probably the best way to return from vacation—just throw yourself back into it. I’m definitely missing sleeping in until 9 and eating good food.
More to come tomorrow.