I love traveling, I really do. New places, new people, new food, bring it on. The one thing I hate about traveling, however, is traveling.
Let me preface by assuring you that I appreciate the incredible invention that is the airplane. Planes make vacations possible. I do not take air travel for granted. And now that that’s out of the way, let me spend a few minutes ranting about why planes are the worst and why I hate everything about them.
I received an email informing me that security lines would be long this summer, as they are every season, and to arrive at the airport at least 2 hours before my flight. While it was very thoughtful to send me this suggestion, my flight was at 7 am. So I arrived at 4:45 am because I often pretend to be responsible. The security line didn’t open until 5:30.
To pass the time, I purchased a diamond-encrusted bottle of water (it wasn’t diamond-encrusted, but it may as well have been based on the amount of money they demanded in exchange). You may be thinking, Katie why would you buy an entire bottle of water before security? You’re just going to have to throw it away. In response, here’s some context: it was 4:45 am. I do not make good decisions before the sun rises.
Security is fun because neither the passengers nor the employees are happy to be there. I also think I’ve set a record for the number of times I’ve been randomly selected for a full-body pat-down which is not as romantic as it sounds. Naturally I’ll try to make a joke to make myself feel less awkward. I’ll say something insanely clever like “wowza buy me a drink first” and, without fail, no one really acknowledges it and I continue to feel awkward. One of these times I will elicit a laugh from a TSA employee; mark my words.
After throwing away my unopened water and making no friends in the security line, I needed coffee. So I bought some questionable scrambled eggs and coffee that must cure cancer because altogether it came out to about $107, give or take.
Finally the time came to board. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not a fan of finding my spot in the boarding line. The sections are broken down into 5-person areas, so I usually just find the general area in which I am supposed to stand, and chill there without bothering anyone ahead of or behind me. But some people treat these positions as crucial and unwavering identities. You would have thought the woman assigned to A37 would rather burn her earthly possessions than deign to board behind me, lowly, scum-of-the-earth A38. Like, calm down. You’re not Rachel Green from season 10, you’ll get on the plane.
Now that I’m on the plane: aisle, middle or window? Most people I know prefer the aisle – more legroom, easier access to the bathroom, generally associated with less claustrophobia – but I go for the window. While I do enjoy the views, the real reason I snag the window is so that I can angle my computer away from everyone and hide what I’m watching on iTunes so that strangers will not make fun of my guilty pleasure plane movies like the incredibly underrated Bring It On: All or Nothing. It’s worth the uncomfortable “do you mind if I go to the bathroom?”‘s followed by those irritated eyerolls and reluctant movement. But I think we can all agree that the middle is the worst.
I’m a fairly outgoing person, but man do I dread airplane chitchat. I usually pop my ear buds in as soon as I sit down so that some extrovert who sits next to me doesn’t get any bright ideas. I feel the same about elevator chitchat. I guess I’m not a true Texan because I don’t really care where you’re from or where you’re headed since I’m never going to see you again after this plane lands and chances are I’m really tired, hangry and bitter about the fact that we’ve figured out how to fly drones around the sky but Southwest still doesn’t have plug outlets on their planes.
As much as I complain about airports, I intend to keep flying. Where else can I sit alone at a bar at 1:30 pm and listen to a podcast without* judgment? So, until I purchase a private jet (date TBD), I suppose I will suck it up and appreciate plane ol’ air travel.
*without that much judgment