The days when we can relax. Plan vacations with family and for authors, hit up a few writer’s conferences. The rub is, how do we get to our personal paradise, our mountaintop, or a delightful hotel where we can learn more about our craft and meet our adoring fans?
Unless you live in the Northeast corridor where you can travel by train, most of us are restricted to either car or plane. In the past, the plane was always my choice. Hands down. Now, not so much. In fact National Lampoon’s Griswold vacations would be preferable to flying these days.
I live an hour and a half from the airport. Yes, there is a closer airport (45 min.) but all of the flights out of there use those teeny tiny planes. I don't know about you but, I really don't care for flying on a plane you can lean out the window to smoke a cigarette. Anyhow, the airlines are recommending you arrive at the airport an hour and a half before flight time. Say I have a 10 o'clock flight. I have to leave the house by 7 AM. That means I need to get up by 5 AM. Ugg. I carefully weigh my luggage to make sure it isn't over the limit and I'm on my way. Airports no longer have curbside check-in so I trudge inside, stand in line and listen to airline personnel tell irate fliers, a) they cannot carry on a piece of luggage the size of the lazy boy recliner. Which by the way I suspect contained two small children. b) Their luggage has exceeded the weight limit by 45 pounds. Oh my! The language.
I finally make it to TSA and place my electronics in the plastic bin, remove my shoes and go through an x-ray kind of machine that I am sure in 20 years we will hear is the cause of some kind of cancer and hope I’m singled out to be groped. I do love a good groping.
BTW does anyone else find it odd the TSA allows small knives on flights? They really are convinced 4 ounces of shampoo is more dangerous than a knife with a 3 inch blade.
At the gate I’m told the departure gate has been changed to one, you got it, on the other side of the airport. It’s boarding time so I rush to the new gate to discover the flight has been delayed an hour. Finally it’s time to board and no many how many times the gate attendant says they are boarding by zones people try to cut. I also realize the contingent of Sumo wrestlers are on my flight and I’m wedged between them. In flight I watch fascinated as several of these large men get up to use the lavatory. Fascinated you ask? Um yeah. How the bloody hell do they fit in there? And… where did they…? All I knew for sure is I’m holding it until we land.
The guy in front of me reclines the seat all the way back and I can see the lice in his greasy hair. Why do they allow that? The seats to recline, not the lice. I mean the seats are closer than hormonal teenagers parked on a dark street. Geeze. And what about the guy who unwraps his smoked goat meat and onion sandwich, snarfs it down and belches the rest of the flight so you get to keep smelling it?
BUT… all that said there is a way to avoid a lot of that mess. Rent a private jet or, upgrade to first class. I know some of you prolific writes can afford the twenty-five grand for a jet rental but I can’t. So, I have an airline credit card and use it to earn frequent flyer miles. What does it do for me? I avoid long lines, no limit on luggage, board first and have a drink in my hand while the cattle car passengers file to the back of the plane. The airline card also offers me passes to the airline’s airport club where I can sit in comfortable chairs, have a drink, and on one occasion rub shoulders with the secret service. Still have to go through TSA but, then why miss the possibility of a good groping?
How do you manage your travels?