24 February 2011

What American Feels Like

Photo from Albert on Flickr.
I'm not talking about being an American.  I'm talking flying American.

I like Southwest...maybe it's because I'm poor, maybe it's because it flies to all of the places my friends and family live, maybe it's because I'm aggressive and like to fight for my seat, maybe it's because it's the easiest (for me) to earn free flights on.  I just don't know.

Since starting my new job, I've been flying American.  I'd love to be able to romanticize my relationship with Southwest, but I won't.  Instead, I'd like to tell you what flying American feels like.  Often, I fly between Washington, DC and Raleigh, NC on American's ERJ-140.  In between those two cities, American feels slow, exhausting and loud - not from screaming children, because I think they'd count as a gate-checked carry-on, but from the roaring, nay, whining engines.

American feels like a flying charter bus for nearly expired men.  It feels like being surrounded by over the hill business men with egos and sense of entitlement that probably should have been gate-checked, but weren't.

American feels like I forgot something.  It wasn't worth checking a bag on a puddle jumper the size of a maxi pad and waiting 45 minutes to retrieve said bag.  Instead, I left at home my contact solution, lotion, allergy medicine, as well as a comfortable pair of shoes, because I was afraid of overloading the plane with one more inconveniently checked bag.

American feels like sitting next to an over the hill business man who seems to think he's got testicles the size of grapefruit.  Due to this unfortunate condition, my window seat just got smaller as his elbow and knee invade my personal space.  Thank you again, American.

Photo from av8pix on Flickr.
I fly Southwest because I can sit anywhere the hell I want.  While 13 is my lucky number, I don't want to sit in row 13 when there are only 16 rows.  Statistically speaking, if a plane were to go down, I'd be safer in the back.  But if the plane goes down, I want to make sure that I don't have to spend 15 years as a vegetable without arms and legs.

I fly Southwest because their planes are big, filled with real people with normal sized egos, and because I don't hit my head on the ceiling when I stand.

American feels like heaving sighs and substantial eye-rolling, but mostly like being trapped in a tiny seat by grapefruit-balled men.

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