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Why Author 12 Hates to Fly

And so it was that I arrived in San Francisco for the big event looking as if my hair had been styled by an angry ring-tailed lemur.

My trip began innocently enough. Operation Packing Plan B was an enormous success. Sure I was a little short on time, but I compensated by piling my artificially golden, wet locks up in a fashionable clip. For every person that would think I was a wreck, I was certain that another would consider me whimsically, see-how-much-I-don’t-try-too-hard eccentric.

I made it to the airport with an hour and a half to spare. I immediately parked at Terminal 2. I did this for two reasons. First, I was flying American Airlines. I knew I was flying American Airlines because my eTicket, which I booked on AmericanAirlines.com, said “American Airlines” all over it. Second, American Airlines is located in Terminal 2, that is if you believe the numerous airport directional signs, the logos on the parked planes at Terminal 2 gates, and my experience from having lived here for the PAST 30 YEARS! True, my eTicket didn’t specifically say “Go to Terminal 2″, but I suspect few can argue with my logic here.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t privy to one little detail, a detail written in secret, invisible ink on my eTicket, a detail so safely guarded that only the truly psychic would possibly make their flight this morning. As I attempted Self-Service Check-In, I got an error message on the screen along the lines of “Danger, Abort, Unauthorized Access Attempted, Hide Your Children, Secure Exit Doors!” It was then that Helpful Lady at the Check-In Counter, shaking her head in disgust, explained that San Francisco departures are on their Partner airline. “You will have to walk down there“, she said (pointing to, oh, North Dakota), “carry your (49.8 pound) suitcase down that flight of stairs, and check in at Terminal 1″.

No problem! I had time, and as luck would have it, Terminal 1 was not nearly as crowded as stupid-snooty Terminal 2. Then came (insert creepy music) SECURITY. This is where I and my fellow Terminal 1 travelers began the off-loading, disrobing process. I am next in the public scrutiny line, I can see Mecca (Pizza Hut) from where I stand, and then it happens. “Baggage check at Security Three!” Apparently, and we only learned this after ten long minutes standing in our scantily clad, bare-footed bodies, the man in front of me is trafficking Scope. Just this morning Steve tells me that they are now allowing lighters on planes which, I think in some cases, could actually be used to set fire to things like, say, PLANES! Yet, under no circumstances are we going to allow this nice looking man to get away with kissably-fresh breath. The gall of him.

Crisis averted, toiletries confiscated, and it is finally My Turn! As I am now wearing very little, I proudly strut through the metal detector. BZZZZ. At this point, I am directed to relinquish the only thing holding my tenuous outward appearance together: The hair clip. Men reading this will not get it; women are no doubt pouring a double just to get through the thought of the disastrous consequences.

I immediately navigate my way to the Pizza Hut, knowing that I will need sustenance for my long, tedious (90 minute) flight. Due in part to the delay caused by the mouthwash debacle, I now find myself in line behind a party of three, each of whom is staring paralyzed with fear at the Personal Pan Pizzas™. Pepperoni? Cheese? As if peace in the Middle East was entirely dependent on their making the correct choice, the little boxes were alternatively removed from and returned to the heat lamp until another ten minutes of my life had gone down the toilet and all were satisfied with their selections (Pepperoni).

I did make it to the Palace, but only after spending forty minutes at the gate in San Diego while the American Airlines Partner (the one with the Eskimo on their tail) arranged to have another oxygen tank delivered to the plane (presumably from Tibet), having realized that the one on board was lonely.

Having freed the random and questionable personal items from the confines of my suitcase (my initial survey suggests that I have one black pump but two feet), my immediate plan is to wear my best Paris Hilton disguise and sneak through the lobby of Suits in pursuit of a bite to eat before the games begin. I’m hungry, and they were out of Pepperoni at the airport.

Next on the agenda is tonight’s Beer with Bloggers event. Tastes Great or Less Filling? I’ll let you know tomorrow.

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  • 6 comments

    6 Comments so far

    1. Steve Berg July 31st, 2007 4:41 pm

      I, for one, am glad to hear you had such a non-eventful and routine flight and that you arrived safely (with many lighters). BTW, none of our active listings have sold since you departed this morning. Just wanted to keep you up to date. Have fun, but go easy on our favorite blogger.

    2. Teri Lussier July 31st, 2007 7:47 pm

      My husband travels about 35% of the year. I don’t know how.

      Such is my hatred of flying I couldn’t even read about your experience. I could only skim, looking to see if perhaps my flying experiences were unique. Perhaps the airline industry is finally pumping fresh air into the cabin? Do they now dispense Valium with every eTicket? Was there at least a decent movie to watch? I see not.

      Dayton to SF= 5 hours, which is a long time to be legally doped, which will render you stupid for the next 24 hours, which leaves me happily sitting in Ohio. ;)

    3. [...] 1) meeting The Incomparable Kris Berg (her new official title)…here pictured with Dan Green. Despite her travails during the long trip here all the way from San Diego, she appeared in good spirits. [...]

    4. Brian Brady August 3rd, 2007 8:28 am

      The “partner airline” was a disaster. The only thing worse than the operational screw up was the condescending, smug look on the face of the gate agent when he asked me “You REALLY need to read the fine print”.

      I found it amusing that he took great delight in bumping me to a later flight, causing me to miss the whole Zillow party.

    5. [...] I kept a mini-travel journal beginning here which spoke to my impending departure, continuing to here, where I summarized the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks that is airline travel, and even landing here, where I submitted a field report on a little industry “stuff”. Of course, I couldn’t help amusing myself with a parody of the Perfect Blog and Blogger. Call that last one my “me” time. [...]

    6. sara August 6th, 2007 1:13 pm

      Darn those Scope smugglers! Hilarious post! Glad you made it to SFO safely and hope that your return was less eventful.