Monday, August 11, 2003

Flying to Seattle

Today was my happy fun flight to Seattle. I showed up nice and early to try and get a bulkhead seat, which I usually hate, because of my leg. Of course, not only was the flight full, but the passenger manifest included 82 elderly travelers with leg injuries. They managed to find me an aisle seat in row 213, giving me precious extra limping distance to the exit. To allay concerns that they're cutting service to the bone, American Airlines has set up a table outside the gate. If you sign up for an AAdvantage credit card with an APR of only 43.9, you get a free bottle of warm, potable water for the long flight ahead.

Since the flight left at noon, it was a "light snack" trip. The "light snack" consisted of a single minibag of Rold Golds. A full half ounce of pretzels? I couldn't possibly eat all that! Maybe I'll save some for later. I tried to plug in my laptop, but for some reason, the plane's DC power didn't make it all the way back to row 213. It evidently gets tired and quits around row 145.

We got into O'Hare in time, but the biggest airport on earth inexplicably had no wireless access except for the Starbucks in the food court. Following the "pretzel for lunch" paradigm, this mid-afternoon, snack-time flight featured the opportunity to grab a semi-chilled Sky Bistro bag containing four carrot sticks and a turkey sandwich. Fortunately, I'd grabbed my own sandwich from Wolfgang Puck across the way, because by the time I got on the flight, half the Bistro sandwich had soaked away into the paper wrapping, leaching away the vital turkey roll nutrients a body needs.

AA only features under-seat outlets in selected rows, which was evidently planned to maximize seat switching with confusing explanations to slack-jawed vacationers. I never before knew why the heck they needed to explain to people how to use a seat belt. The in-flight entertainment was my giving my copy of the Chicago Tribune to the woman sitting next to me, and having her stare at the front cover for two hours. About 10 hours into the flight, I realized that the one good thing about traveling on a daily dose of antibiotics is the lessened probability that you'll get the standard post-flight sinus infection.

The flight actually got in a few minutes early, but when I got to Hertz they didn't have a car for me. Some moron had made the reservation for July 11 instead of Aug 11, and even though I did the entire thing myself online, and checked the itinerary, it's all Hertz's fault somehow. Idiots. Actually, they were kind enough to dig out a Miata as a way to apologize for my stupidity, but see if I ever use them again.

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