Grab Your Bags, It’s On.


We are entering the busiest stretch of the entire year; the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas where an epic amount of activity will be attempted by over-stressed humans on behalf of… someone else.

Thanksgiving is over.

The Christmas season is starting to feel real now isn’t it?  Pretty soon you’ll be traveling to visit family. Those of you with long distances to travel will of course be flying.  I recently flew Southwest Airlines for the first time because I heard that bags fly free.

What is it about flying Southwest Airlines that turns people into complete animals?

I’m pretty sure that it’s that open seating policy.  Having just flown, I would suggest to you that that’s not a policy- it’s a guarantee.  A guarantee that you are going to get pushed and shoved all of the way down an aisle as you look for a seat.

It all starts with the anxiety laden line-up by those odd metal poles. Everybody there is waiting for their chance to break from the gate like greyhounds after a mechanical rabbit.

Sometimes you can get into a really bad situation while boarding a Southwest flight.  This happens when they board from the front AND the back door of the plane at the same time.  Now the people sprinting onto the tarmac have a choice between two flights of stairs that they’ll run up.

I wasn’t aware that I would needed to stretch before the boarding process began.

Once you choose a door and get inside the plane you are now running at full speed towards a wall of people while the guy behind you is yelling and shoving you to move faster. It’s like a scene from Braveheart, but nobody told you to bring a broadsword instead of a boarding pass.

I guess I should expect this from an airline whose slogan is “Grab your bag, it’s on!”

The prize that everyone is racing for is an aisle seat.  The aisle seat is that coveted spot on the plane where you get some extra space, on one side of you, to get away from the sweaty, filthy, disgusting animal that just shoved you down the aisle, and will now plop down next to you.  You know, the guy who, even though bags fly free, decided to check nothing.

The ironic twist is that you fought and pushed and struggled to get comfortable space to put your arm and leg into, only to have them both ripped of by a flight attendant traveling 60 mph down the aisle with a beverage cart.

It could be worse; you could be that poor sap who has to sit in the middle seat because his wife chose a window seat!  That guy had his whole pick of seats all over the plane, but now he gets to sit right next to a person in what could have been “his” aisle seat.

In my opinion, the airplane is a library for some of the worst publications in the history of mankind.  The first is the “In-flight Magazine.”  This supposedly journalistic endeavor is really just camouflage for a series of advertisements, cleverly disguised as news stories.

I always feel like I’m listening to Paul Harvey news and commentary as I read it.  One minute you’re reading about the unsung heroes of Omaha, Nebraska and the next you are finding out that there’s been a radical new breakthrough in space-age audio technology that you can experience at home because, for a limited time, $250 can make the Bose Wave radio yours.

This is when you realize that you just turned the page and ended up in a “special advertising section”.

There are also stories about where various celebrities go whenever they visit another great American city!

How about a list of America’s 10 Best Steakhouses?

Did you want to know how to spend a “perfect weekend” in one of the cities this particular airline happens to fly?

Maybe you are a busy millionaire looking to find love with the help of a personal matchmaking service?

Who could forget that half-filled in crossword puzzle?

The most entertaining thing about your in-flight magazine is that you get to see just how smart the last person sitting in your seat wasn’t… Bonanu Repuplic

The only thing worse than the in-flight magazine is sitting down in your seat and realizing that you didn’t get one.  It feels like you’ve just been personally insulted by the airline.  “You don’t think I want to know where Jane Seymour goes for ribs when she takes a direct flight to Branson Missouri?!”

Now you’re stuck with just a copy of Skymall for 4 hours.

The Skymall catalog is the strangest thing you’ll ever read cover to cover… because you might need to know where to buy a miniature Guillotine that cuts the ends off of cigars for you right?

How about a hand-held bug vacuum?

What about a coffee table held up by a Sumo Wrestler?

What about the body hug pillow?

Something tells me that if there’s a revolutionary new product that can guarantee a better night’s sleep, I’m not going to find out about this breaking news story at 50,000 feet.  The only thing in that whole magazine that looks interesting to me is that gun that fires marshmallows 40ft.  That would be a lot of fun on the plane wouldn’t it?

You could finally pay back that lady with the drink cart.

For me,  getting off of the plane is worse than getting onto the plane is.  As soon as the wheels hit the runway you have the single-minded purpose of getting out of that plane and away from that airport as soon as humanly possible.  This why the flight attendant reminds everybody that they must remain seated with their seatbelts fastened until the plane has stopped.

This is like the referee reminding the boxers about the rules of the fight before he tells them to start swinging at each other, because the minute the plane stops moving, people immediately stand up and start crowding the aisles in the race to get their carry on bags out of the overhead compartment.

This is the moment in your travels where, if you pay attention, you will get to see at least three very funny things happen.

The first is the person who tries to stand up very quickly and hits the stewardess call button with their head.

The second is the person who tries to stand up without unfastening their seatbelt.

The third is the person who successfully stands up and opens the overhead compartment, only to be buried under a torrent of luggage because, “…some items may have shifted during the flight“.

After fighting and elbowing everybody out of the way, you make your way off the plane and through the airport for the purpose of rescuing your bags, which the airline has taken hostage.

You move purposefully towards the baggage claim area.  You even walk down the moving walkway just to double your speed.  You hurry up to get there so that you can wait for your bags.

In reality, you ran over to pick up a bag that has just gotten to take a tram to the area you just ran to.  Why don’t we all get to ride that tram?  Couldn’t they just put us on a tram with our bags and drive us all over at the same time?

Wouldn’t you like to emerge from that little door, riding the conveyor belt right out to the curb?

I would.

If they gave me a half-glass of Ginger Ale and a free magazine it could be the most enjoyable portion of the trip!

7 Responses to “Grab Your Bags, It’s On.”

  1. Andy Schreiber November 30, 2011 at 10:43 am #

    Edit “unfastening” (not fastening) the seat belt.

    I do not enjoy flying anymore.

    • Jon November 30, 2011 at 11:53 am #

      Thanks Andy!

  2. Sharon O November 30, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    Only flown once and it was a southwest plane to Reno, I was terrified, something about being high up in the sky and leaving your life and trust up to a ‘metal’ winged airplane that could either bring you home to safety or not. It wasn’t relaxing.

    • Jon November 30, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

      “It wasn’t relaxing” Nice touch Sharon.

  3. Darcy Hansen November 30, 2011 at 4:29 pm #

    Wow! I am super excited about flying next week on SW Air! Between that post and Sunday’s sermon I am totally geared up! I just thought that flying across the country with one plane change would be a cake walk compared to flying to Rwanda. Though, I will miss the sweet considerations you get on international flights-free hot food, free movies, free snacks, that little eye mask thingy, and a cozy blanket all at 35,000 feet for 14+ hours:) I do like the idea of having a parachute as a carry-on or even better, the parachute that comes out of the tail of the plane if the flight portion of the flight seems to fail. I have to keep telling myself, flying is a means to an end. The end for us next week is sunshine, so after weeks of rain, I am game for whatever comes! Giddy up!

    • Jon December 2, 2011 at 11:25 am #

      I bet that you are going to have a great flight Darcy! My experiences are based mostly around my fear of flying and on overly neurotic approach to said fear:) THat sun is going to be great right!

      • Darcy Hansen December 4, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

        Oh, I have those same fears, that is why I am completely freaked out now;) And yes, the sun will be grand!

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