i think you really can go home again. 

Just when you do…don’t take Alaska Airlines.

i’ve got friends who think Alaska is DA BOMB and fly them all over the place and collect all those magical miles and then use them to fly more places. They tell me ALL of their experiences have been great!

i don’t get it.

For one, they charge for bags. WHO DOES THIS? $25 each way per bag. $50 a flight! Are you kidding me? Do you know how many Voodoo Donuts and/or margaritas that buys??

Then, if that is not insulting enough, they are the only airline that will fly me from San Jose CA, where i live, to Eugene OR, where i grew up and go regularly to visit my family. Being the only airline for this particular one hour and 40 minute flight, they can set the price as high as they want. And they do.

i hate them.

But it’s SO convenient!! So i fork out the big bucks, over and over. Because i LOVE my family and i am a GOOD daughter. But in my attempts to save money, i try to figure out what weekends i need to be there and buy the tickets as early as possible. Unfortunately, that has resulted in rescheduling or cancelling more than once which incurs a $150 fee EVERY TIME.

Southwest, they are not.

All money-gouging aside, this flight would be pretty perfect if it weren’t for the flight pattern it has to take. Which isn’t long enough for the plane to rise above the turbulence. Meaning: Puke City. For an hour and 40 minutes.

And the size of the plane. Which is tiny. It has propeller engines and we climb ladders to get into it. An unexpected wind gust could blow this baby off-course. i spend the 1.75 hours in flight praying we don’t hit a bird. Or a stray balloon.

And then there are the crazy flight attendants, one of whom recently prefaced every single instruction with, “We all know that…”.

It sounded like this:

We all know that there is no smoking in the lavatories or anywhere in the plane at any time.

We all know to keep our seatbelt buckled all the way to the gate, right?

We all know to stay in our seats while the captain has the fasten seatbelt light on (which is the entire flight).

i wanted to punch her in the neck. Or curl up with a blankie and take a little nap before snack time. Maybe both.

Ok, this flight sucks.

But it’s funny sucky.

Which is, actually, the whole premise of this entire blog. Things suck, but they suck hysterically.

For example, on my most recent flight, it was announced in the terminal that we were ready to board but, “Please don’t sit in rows 5-8 as we are undersold and need to balance the weight of the plane.”

BALANCE THE WEIGHT OF THE PLANE???

What in the planes-falling-out-of-skies are we talking about here??

It seems this little prop plane, that we all hike out to the tarmac and then climb portable, rickety steps to board, (but not before dutifully handing over our carry-ons to surly, non-communicative luggage handlers because there is no overhead storage) is so tiny that when it is not full, more weight in one end than the other can cause problems.

Like, FLYING problems.

i ain’t too fat to fly!! (or am i? i don’t know!!!)

OH. MY. GOD.

i quickly look around and see a bunch of kids. What are they, maybe 30 pounds each? 40? i don’t know…kids are a mystery to me.  i start sizing up the adults and realize the bulk of us are typical fat Americans who probably equal 4, 5…maybe 6? of those kids. OH, HELL NO.

Has anyone weighed us?? i mean..math is hard, but i alone count for a bunch of those kids or maybe two skinny adults so how are they “balancing the weight” of this flying death trap without weighing us first??

Maybe The Machine knows this already and when we buy our tickets it distributes us appropriately? That would count for the children – you have to claim them at some point during the ticket-buying process and perhaps the gamble is that if they are kids, they must be below..say…90.

But that doesn’t count for us fatties and i just ate sweet potato fries! My weight was never asked for in any of the prompts i followed to buy this Ticket to Hell, and now i have a very real and justifiable terror that this flying tin can is gonna wobble right out of the air because the mean weight of the average American (plus fries) hasn’t been taken into consideration with all these little hobbits running around eager to board.

i feel my anxiety rising and by the time it is my turn to show my boarding pass, i have broken out into a cold sweat and think i might throw up before we even board the flying bouncy house.

“Ummm….weight balancing…can you explain that?”

“Just keep rows 5-8 clear. Sit in your assigned seat and don’t worry..umm…candice,” the cheery ticket-taker said looking at my boarding pass.

“But…i mean…we all weigh differently..some of us..errr…MORE than others…” i stammer, holding up the line.

“It’s alright – don’t worry! It’s all taken care of!” she replies with a tight smile, glancing at the increasingly impatient line behind me.

“But…is there any chance that….you know…the balance could be OFF? i mean..i might count as TWO adults, or several children..and i see..”

“Don’t worry!” She interrupts a little loudly. “Everything is GREAT! Just go take your seat as assigned and have a good flight!” She dismisses me with a smile and takes the next, now annoyed, passenger’s ticket.

i reluctantly move on, walking down the long hall to the ramp to the tarmac, lost in thoughts and images of tail-heavy planes falling out of skies and crashing into fiery infernos.

As it turns out, we don’t wobble (much) and the flight is unusually smooth without a bird or balloon in sight. i spend the entire flight squished into my tiny seat writing, because that takes my mind off of things like fiery infernos and untimely death.

Unless of course that is the topic of my writing. Which it was.

Call me obsessed. But SOMEBODY’S got to think about this stuff!

And the next time you fly Alaskan…you might ask if they need your weight at any time during the boarding process.

i’m just sayin’.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. I’ve always wondered about the whole weight distribution thing when flying, particularly about those people whose carry-on bags are the size of small adult. Airlines charge you if your bag is over the weight limit, but at what point do they every say “Sorry–if we let you on with something this heavy, the plane will crash”?

  2. Didn’t they used to ask weight back in the day? Like 40+ years ago? As a kid I recall stories of people being refused on flights for weighing too much. You know, there always has to be something for the airlines to kick you off for. Nowadays it is for having liquids and being a terrorist. Speaking of terrorists, you know those little plastic dental floss picks with the pointy ends? I’ll bet you could take an airline down with one of those things and they totally would pass through the X-ray security just fine. Anyway I think stewardesses (stewardi?) have weight limits. Air flight hosts, whatever they are called these days. Um, did I have a point? Probably not.

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