I’m America—Fly Me
We averaged just over 80 mph coming home from Florida a few days ago. Unfortunately, we flew. Most of us have an airline horror story or two. My cousin Myron and his wife Marsha recently flew “What’s Your Hurry Air” out of Pittsburgh. Myron is one of the cheapest people on the planet. To use a free companion ticket, he drove to Pittsburgh to fly to Houston to drive to a wedding in New Orleans. When his flight from Pittsburgh was cancelled because of weather in Chicago, he could transfer to another airline but his companion, Marsha, could not. He called me a little while ago. He is in Baton Rouge, Marsha is in Minneapolis, and their car is still in Pittsburgh. Oh, his carry-on luggage, which didn’t fit in the overhead, is in “final destination,” but no one seems to know where that is. I believe it is in Nebraska. They missed the wedding, of course, but so did the groom, who sat in the airport in Rochester waiting for the flight crew from Toledo whose plane was rerouted to Kansas City. With a sly nod to Darwin, the bride married the only guy to make it to the wedding on time.
The most fun you can have flying now is playing the “overhead compartment bin war.” Serious players try for boarding zones four or five. The idea is to get your carefully prepared carry-on bags to fly for free in the body of the plane. You can only do that if you have timed the “out of carry-on space,” announcement just right. Win and you get to stick it to the airlines for $25 to $50. Sure, they are still likely to misplace your bag or send it to Nebraska, but that is no longer the point. The game has become so intense that the time to stow luggage in the convenient overhead bins is often longer than the flight.
But wait until you hear what is in store for you!
At Stevieslaw, publisher of the Less-intelligent-than-average American Guides (LAG), we introduce you to air travel in 2012 and beyond through, “I’m America-Fly Me.” In the LAG Guide, you will learn that:
Approach: Regional airports will close. All traffic to the major city airports will be on gridlocked roads that were built in 1926 and have since been “tea-partied” to rubble.
Ticketing: All airline tickets will say “on or about” rather than providing a specific day or time. At the airport, you will get to negotiate with a single, harried employee, working on an old computer with a fragile connection, to see when you might fly.
Security: For fear of the “DNA” bomb—in which a terrorist can reputedly make his body’s cells into a nuclear weapon, you will be DNA screened while floating naked in a vat of a jello-like substance, while TSA employees point and laugh. Very small towels will be available for a very large price for those who pass the test.
Carry-on: You will only be allowed to carry on a single stick of sugarless gum and a portable electronic device you will be forbidden, over and over again, to use.
The Chariots: Boeing, working closely with the airlines, will unveil the “Straphanger 2000,” in which the seats will be replaced by six to eight rows of “personal attachment stations.” Obviously, those PASes that are closer to the center of the cabin, and don’t require you to stoop and fly, will cost a bit more.
The Amenities: Coin-operated bathrooms will be the norm. Frequent flyer miles can be traded for bathroom time—finally providing the flyer with a clear picture of what they are worth. Look for “Depends Garment Stores” to spring up at airports next to the food courts. Stewardesses will be replaced by a looped tape which will remind you that anything other than shallow breathing is prohibited by law,interwoven with advertisements for things you cannot live without—such as a voice operated umbrella.
Safety: Failure to fund the FAA will continue. Eventually, the greedy federally funded employees will notice and try to find other jobs. As a consequence, all FAA functions will be privatized and farmed out to the lowest bidder. Right now, that is Iran.
We know that you are probably thinking—“well, I just won’t fly.” But that’s because you haven’t yet read the LAG to guide public transportation—“One Nation, One Bus,” or the LAG guide to the future of driving in America—“Why Bother.”
By the way, if you should happen to be a “job creator,” with the ability to fly first class you can ignore this entire article. Flying, like everything else, will be much easier for you.