Friday, February 17, 2017

You REALLY Don't Fly that Much

On the road again. Late afternoon flight to Argentina after my homeland interview. I was shaken by the interview and happy to be leaving the country again. The first class lounge provides adequate booze. I sleep in my hop flight to Atlanta and dash because the layover was far too short for my flight to Argentina.

It's a packed plane. Every seat sold and no room to spare. There were over a dozen people trying to fly standby, and at least ten of those had checked bags into the holding before finding out they were going to be able to be placed on the flight. I board along with the swimming sea of people and find my seat. I know this will not be the most comfortable 9 hours, but at least I'm in the bulkhead which will make moving easier.

On one side there is a nice older American couple. Tourist traveling. They are polite and circumspect. They are clearly in their seventies or eighties and obviously fully in love. I remember thinking about a time when that might have been a reality for me. I have a moment of jealousy and I look away to study the woman who has been placed next to me. She was sitting in the wrong seat and had to be moved. She's already fussy with four bags, when carry-ons should have been limited to two and all of her bags are in front of her on the floor. I know they will come around and ask her to move things.

She keeps hitting me and fussing.

I realize I'm already fairly irate with her behavior.

The captain announces that the flight will be delayed to takeoff because of bags that need to be taken off the plane, the belongings of those unlucky standbys who are now off to wait and hope for the next flight to Argentina. The lady next to me, who is best described as an Argentinian hajuma, is fidgety for awhile. She sighs. She snorts. She bitches to the couple across the isle.

An hour after we were to take off we are still sitting on the tarmac. These things happen and I have a book and can be patient. Not the lady next to me. She calls over a stewardess and starts to give her a piece of her mind.

"This is awful. I fly all the time. I fly delta. This is ridiculous. I want to talk to the captain. I want to know what's going on."

The stewardess tries to politely explain the bag situation again. The woman just gets angrier and angrier.

"I know my rights, you have to tell me why we haven't taken off. I deserve to be told."

Her anger is so strange to me. I'm trying to figure out what the point of her rage is. Is she angling for free miles? An extra ticket? An upgrade? The flight is fully packed so she is not going to get anything from the yelling, but she could end up sticking us on the tarmac even longer if she has to be escorted from the plane.

I'm starting to wonder if she is going to delay the flight further.

A second stewardess comes by to talk to her in rapid Spanish, conveying the same message only faster. The woman continues to bitch but seems slightly placated when the plane begins to move. The stewardess goes off to take her seat to so we can get in the air.

Later, she comes back to take a formal complaint, asking for the frequent flyer number for reference, as this woman has been throwing a fit about how frequently she flies. I'm a frequent flyer. So frequent I have one of those medallions you only get if you are doing a couple million miles a year. I figure if this lady is throwing such a fit she had to at least be in the club.

She's not. She's not even a member of the airline she is throwing a fit at. And she only flies twice a year.

The stewardess bring me very generous glasses of wine. Fortunately I slept through most of the flight.

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