American air travel is horrible-there’s just no other word for it.
Lately, I’ve been flying alot for work and fun and most recently- to visit my dad who got hurt (which wasn’t so fun).
Needless to say, I wasn’t looking forward to all-day travel (even less so because I couldn’t fly Virgin Airlines).
Case in point-I flew US Airways from my hometown of Pittsburgh to Charlotte and finally to San Francisco.
I got off easier-but still problematic:
I boarded with 2 small carry-ons -one of which had my laptop and iPad and which easily fit under my seat. Because US Airways charges $30/bag, people tend to carry-on bags that they probably would check if it wasn’t so pricey.
Result? By the time my Zone 4 boarded-no more room in the overhead.
I looked around to squeeze my small bag (literally a wheeled-laptop bag) when the stewardess grabbed it to ‘help’. I assumed she had a spot overhead for it then realized (too late) that she took the bag to check.
Problem: the bag had my Passport, wallet, car and house keys.
I literally got to the airplane door as it was closing and was told “No worries, it will be waiting for you in San Francisco”. Problem? I hadn’t eaten all day and US Airways doesn’t ‘give’ food on any of its flights.
Result? I starved through my next 6 hour flight from Charlotte to SF (US Airways doesn’t ‘give‘ any food as my disgruntled stewardess informed me)
I ended up in tears. Traveling to visit your sick dad is exhausting enough, being lined up like cattle and treated badly by EVERY US Airways employee after paying $700 for a flight is even more tiring.
I did what any tech-savvy girl would do. I took it to the Interwebs and over Twitter I commiserated with Nick Delpopolo ( A US Olympian who is training to be the FIRST man ever to win Olympic Gold in Judo). Seems he tried to order some of the food listed on US AIrways menu and was told he needed to check the small print (which advises his 2:28 flight is short of the 2.5 hours required to be provided food).
I resigned myself to starvation, caught up on work and chatted with my charming seatmate.
Where is the yoga in all of this?
When the flight landed, the steward announced “Can we have a moment of silence for a US Military officer who is accompanying a fallen soldier”.
We all watched as the soldier departed and then, out of my window seat, I watched a hearse approach the plane.
Usually deplaning a flight is a chaotic affair-people shoving, roughly pulling down bags, everyone frustrated at sitting in a box for 6 hours.
This time, we all remained and watched through the window as the soldiers pulled the coffin out of the plane, covered it with a flag, saluted it and loaded it. Women and men started to cry and several people swore at the injustice of it all. Even the unruly baby on board stopped screaming and normally surly people softened and kindly helped each other pull down bags and quietly leave.
From the window of the gate, several of us watched the soldier hand a folded American flag to the soldier’s family- young parents who looked no more than 50 years old. All looked uncomfortable it seemed in acknowledgement that receiving the coffin of your fallen child is surely a crime against nature.
Suddenly, the insignificance of my problematic flight became real.
It is said “Humility is not thinking less of yourself-it is thinking of yourself less”
I certainly received a lesson in that……..