Well, the fun in New York has finally come to an end, and since I’m traveling back to Los Angeles, I figured what better time to bust out the laptop and blog the flight? Or experience, as it were. Turns out I’m only in the airport so far. I’m hoping there will be lots to discuss, but I’m fearful because I’m not on JetBlue, which means my TV options will probably be limited to some awful movie, The King of Queens, a sappy CBS Sports profile on a random football player like Martin Grammatica, and a dumb commercial for diamonds or whatever. Sigh. At least there’s hope that Julie Chen might host a feature, ideally all of CBS Eye On America, but we know that probably won’t happen. The good news is that since it’s only October 3rd, there’s a chance that the crossword puzzle in my American Airlines magazine won’t already be filled in. Same goes for the Sudoku. So without further ado, I shall now endeavor to describe my flight until my laptop dies.10:48 AM
Okay, here’s what’s happened so far. My flight is supposed to leave at noon, but I arrived at JFK early, and by the time I got through security, I saw that there was another flight to Los Angeles leaving an entire hour earlier. Well, this seemed like a wonderful opportunity! I decided I’d put my airport know-how to use and get on the earlier plane. With great swagger, I demanded that I be put on flight 19 (okay, I just said, “Is there room?” and the flight attendant brusquely took my boarding pass and sneered, “I’ll put you on standby.”). Anyway, at 10:30 AM, I was called to the desk, and huzzah! I had cleared the standby list! Even better, I had an aisle seat. What a wonderful execution of an impromptu plan! I handed my boarding pass to the lady at the gate, and just before it was scanned, it occurred to me that I might be separated from my one, sole, checked bag. Would you be able to get my bag? I asked.
Just like that, all my dreams came to an end. What would be the point of taking the earlier flight if I had to hang around LAX an extra hour? Oh well. It was fun while it lasted. The decision was clear: take the original flight. But wait! The guy at the gate suddenly told me that my original flight would be delayed for an indefinite amount of time. “How long?” I asked. He said he didn’t know. He merely shrugged and said, “The plane’s broken.” GREAT. Always love to hear that. So now here was the dilemma: take a flight that will get me in earlier and then return to LAX later tonight to retrieve my bag (major pain in the ass), or hang tough, stay with the luggage, and, you know, fly on a broken plane. My inclination was to go earlier and not, you know, risk death in a shabby plane.
But I knew there was one person who’d be able to give me good perspective on this: my brother. I called him up and explained the situation. He asked if I had anything valuable in my luggage. “Oh, just a laptop and a camcorder,” I said. So in short: yes, I did have valuable items. And in case you’re wondering, the laptop in my luggage is the one I had earlier this week whose monitor completely fizzled out (and of course, as soon as I spent a small fortune on a newer, glossier replacement, the old laptop suddenly whirred back to life as if to say, “Gotcha, fucker!!!!”). Anyway, my brother made a good point: you don’t want a bag with valuable items lingering around the airport. Best to stay with the bag.
So here I am, on my original flight with the broken plane. What will really suck is if my flight gets cancelled altogether, I wind up on a different plane, and I have to wait for my bag at LAX after all. Of course, that’s assuming that anything this guy said to me was true. When I asked another woman, she said there was no record of a delay in the computer and didn’t hear of any troubles. So was the first guy trying to hustle me onto his flight? Or was the second woman trying to cover up a massive aviation problem? Needless to say, I’m quite perplexed and uneasy.
Oh, and at this point, I can’t change my mind because I just saw the earlier flight back away from the gate. Hmmm… maybe if I tell them I’m Joyce and Uchenna they’ll bring the plane back.
By the way, I have a terrible seat for people watching. I’m literally looking at payphones. If I want to look at people, I literally have to crane my neck behind me, which is entirely too obvious.
This just in! The flight is officially delayed. But only by half an hour (which means about three to four hours). Either way, it’s emerging from the hangar now, which means hopefully (fingers crossed) it’s not broken anymore. Tell my family I love them…
I caved in. I payed $8 for internet access. This is strongly against my beliefs, but it had to be done. Another thing JetBlue has on American: free WiFi in the terminals. Seriously, American. Why do you suck so much?
The flight attendant just advised us that there is a very limited amount of sandwiches for sale on the flight today. This of course begs the next dilemma: buy a sandwich now or wait until I land in LAX? Maybe I’ll get some candy. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do. Genius!
Okay, I’m shutting off the computer for now. I’m determined to find a Toberlone, and I think I have just the right amount of time to get one…
One hour later, and I’m in the air. Lots of stuff has happened. Well, actually, it’s all very mundane, but I’ve been keeping mental notes all along. First off, I did not get my Toblerone as planned. I dropped into the Duty Free shop, but of course they were only selling the monster size that cost $12 and was entirely too big and cumbersome for a simple airline snack. However, I found a worthy substitute (hopefully) next door at the Europa Café where I purchased what looks to be a tasty chocolate croissant. I intend to consume this pastry in about T minus three hours.
Anyway, I knew this flight would be intriguing the moment I stepped on and “Private Dancer” by Tina Turner was blasting. A later check of the AAttractions magazine revealed that we were listening to the “Smooth Smooth Smooth Smooth” channel (with each “Smooth” in a lighter font color than the last, natch). As I walked to my seat, I did a cursory analysis of First Class and Business: no celebs on board, unfortunately.
My seat, as it turns out, is right in front of the exit row and conveniently located directly adjacent to the galley, which means when those First Class cookies start baking, I’ll probably go into a deep state of agony. There was actually a little controversy early on with the exit row. First of all, the guy in the window seat wasn’t even supposed to be there at all. He was like from five rows back (the flight attendant quickly took care of that). But the real action began when some British woman who looked like a cross between my high school Latin teacher and Meryl Streep in Devil Wears Prada (playing on Eastbound Domestic flights from October 1-15, FYI) showed up. She was seated in the Exit Row, but apparently, it wasn’t her original seat. She had booked two seats with her husband, who was presently and inexplicably without a designation. So what to do? Well, if you answered “Bother everyone with your cheery yet concerned confusion,” you’re right! Within ten seconds, we knew all about this woman and her husband and when they had booked their flights and blah blah blah.
Luckily for her, the ground crew resolved their ticketing mixup, and they were returned to their original seats, reunited at last. That meant one thing: an Exit Aisle seat was open! Unfortunately, I hesitated about three seconds, and that was enough time for this one snaky, smarmy man to rush up and take it. And no, I’m not exaggerating by saying he was snaky and smarmy. He literally was the embodiment of snaky and smarmy. Even worse, once he took the seat, he had a triumphant smirk on his face that was so irritating, I wanted to punch him. Needless to say, when I later put my seat back, I felt no guilt (not that it mattered, on account of all his leg room).
Okay, let me count the ways that American is worse than JetBlue. No legroom whatsoever. None. In fact, there’s so little space, I can’t even open my laptop computer all the way. Do you know how frustrating this is? I mean, it’s not like I want a 180 degree angle. But I at least want to position the screen so it lines up with my eyes. As a result, everything seems all bright and weird. My blue highlight looks like white. Even worse, with no legroom, my knees are pressed up against the seatback pocket, which just so happens to be where my much-hyped chocolate croissant is presently residing. I would take it out, but then I’d have nowhere to put it. If it’s a flat tortilla by the time I take it out, so help me God…
FYI — the pilot just told us that if we look out to the left, we’ll be able to see Philadelphia, excuse him, Charlotte, excuse him again, Charleston. Which one is it??? Doesn’t matter. All I can see is haze. I’m aisle seat anyway.
Ha — okay, this is hilarious. The pilot (who’s still talking five minutes later) just apologized for the delay and actually blamed flight 19 (my almost standby flight) for the issues at the airport. He said that they had the maintenance problem. The nerve! Lots of blame game going on at American.
Here’s a bit of good news: my movie will be Cars. I almost feared that I’d be the unlucky victim of a Lake House viewing, but that’s for the suckers in the second half of the month.
Lo! The beverage cart beckons! What shall be my libation of choice? Sometimes I get ginger ale in honor of my friend Karina who always gets ginger ale on flights. Sometimes I get tomato juice in honor of my friend IndianJones, whose airborne beverage of choice is tomato juice. Hmmm… If memory serves me correct, the last time I flew American, they served Mott’s Tomato Juice, which was fairly terrible (entirely too sweet). Odds are in favor of ginger ale. But then again… do I really want something carbonated? This is gonna come down to the wire.
Conveniently, my new laptop comes equipped with a webcam, which is located at the top of my computer screen. I just took a photo of myself so you can see what sort of angle my laptop’s at.
Wonderful. We’re currently traveling through a “moderate chop,” which means there will be a 21 minute delay before our beverage service commences. I should note that the people in Business Class are currently being served. I guess they can handle the moderate chop, but not us. Who does the flight staff think we are? A bunch of clumsy fools?
Okay, the beverage cart is at my knee. But it’s been stopped because some old man in Business Class did not enjoy his fine red wine, and is now requesting a different appertif. Listen, you’re on an airplane, not the Loire Valley. GET OVER IT.
I wonder which was the offending wine? The selection from the William Hill winery? Or the vintage Buena Vista? Obviously I’m bored if I’m reading labels off the wine bottles perched right at my face.
Seriously, sit down, old man. What is this, the Sideways of air travel?
You know, if Carrie Fisher had a love child with Charlotte Rae, it would be the Business Class flight attendant. (It would be funnier if you could see her).
Someone in Business Class has a purdy glass of tomato juice sitting on his tray. It’s all but a done deal. I’m getting tomato juice!
This just in: I’ve decided to revise my croissant schedule. New consumption time: as soon as I get my beverage. That means that tomato juice is out of the running. It surely will not compliment my chocolate croissant. Looks like ginger ale is in the lead again. However, if they have ice tea, that could be a dark horse candidate. When does Eye On American Start?
So it’s been a half an hour, and there’s been some mild activity. A fat guy in Business Class got up to go to the bathroom, and I swore he was gonna have a heart attack on the way. He was one of those guys who could barely get out of the seat and had to grab onto pretty much everyone else’s seats just to brace himself. I call those types of passengers “the worst ever”.
My beverage also arrived. I asked about ice tea, but the flight attendant said there was none. She offered to make some homemade, but I sensed that endeavor would be plagued with disappointment, so I opted for ginger ale. Once it arrived, I busted out the chocolate croissant which was decent enough. Kind of crusty, but for an airplane snack, it was hearty and enjoyable.
During this time, CBS Eye On American started. There was actually a little pre-show hosted by Kristen Holt, a.k.a. that annoying girl from American Idol who hosts things for G4. I thought I was going to shoot myself, but her segment turned out to be surprisingly enjoyable since it wound up being all sorts of Survivor trivia. I thought I’d ace every question, but some of them were tricky and regrettably, I did not emerge with a perfect score.
Once Kristen said goodbye to us in her perky, grating, AWFUL voice, none other than Jeff Probst appeared on screen to welcome us to Eye On American. Unfortunately, I accidentally had the Spanish translation on; so I missed his first few lines. It was worth it though to hear someone say “Soy Jeff-a Probst.”
Unfortunately, Jeff was quickly ushered off the screen. He was sort of like the Maître D’ to Julia Louis Dreyfuss’s waiter. She became our hostess, and the first item she introduced was a stirring report about a gold mine, courtesy of the one and only Serena Altschul, who apparently now is a real reporter for CBS (weekend Early Show, at least). I’ll have you know that Serena’s trademark spiky blonde Bridgitte Nielsen look is gone, in favor of a more sensible long, brunette style. For some reason, I watched the entire report, even though it consisted of little more than watching Serena descend into a mine, touch raw gold, and say “Wow!”
Now there’s a CBS report about Miami coach Nick Saban and how wonderful he is for the Dolphins. Too bad his team sucks right now. This kind of reminded me of two or three years ago when Eye On American showed an entire profile and interview with Quincy Carter, the then quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. The segment highlighted how he was able to take the team to the playoffs, and how he was hoping to do it again that year. Too bad that a day prior, he had been unceremoniously cut from the organization. Oops!
How wonderful! Russell Crowe has a new movie coming out called A Good Year. And guess what? It looks TERRIBLE.
I don’t know what’s on the screen right now, but it’s Mr. T mediating an argument between a guy and his father-in-law at a car dealership.
Seriously, what the hell is this? Mr. T is motivating the entire car dealership. “If Mr. T can be motivated 24 hours a day, so can I!” says the guy. So true. So true.
Apparently this was all a promo for the new Mr. T reality show, I Pity Tha Fool where Mr. T goes around an motivates people. At the end of the promo, he tells us to watch, and then adds, “And stop kicking the seat in front of you. Grrrrr!” I’m not even joking. Even better, Julia Louis Dreyfuss returns and insincerely says, “Fun stuff.” She then tosses to Deborah Norville, of all people, who chirps, “Everyone has a favorite shampoo!” This is the most bizarre Eye On American EVER.
Oooh! Be careful! Don’t buy lookalike Duracel batteries! They leak acid! Lessons from Eye On American. And your thoughts, Julia Louis Dreyfuss? “Great stuff.”
Awww. Baby elephant running on the TV! And it tripped and fell over! Oh, Eye On American — how you warm my heart so!
Presently watching How I Met Your Mother. Believe it or not, American Airlines bleeps out “suck” (as in “That sucks”) and “laid” (as in “what does it take for a guy to get laid around here?”). COMMIES!
I’ve reached my breaking point. I absolutely can’t watch any more of Eye on American. I was gonna watch Cars, but I’m not even sure anmore.
Colin Cowie is on the TV now, which means one thing: time to use the latrine.
For those of you wondering, the guy in Business Class has still not touched his tomato juice. It’s been like two hours. Has he no appreciation for his fine beverage? You know, the plane is going to hit some bad turbulence and that tomato juice is going to splash all over his shirt. That’ll teach him. Cosmic tomato juice justice.
Tomato juice man has two different Blackberries or Palm Pilots strapped into his seatback pocket. I so want the tomato juice to spill on them. He also has a full bottle of water. What’s with this guy? He just accumulates things and doesn’t use them. What an ass. Nice conspicuous consumption, JERK!
Let’s analyze the radio stations, shall we?
Channel 1: Measure for Measure
Just the typical classical station. Yawn.
Channel 2: Nu Jazz
Hey hepcats, it’s new jazz! But it’s cool new jazz. Can’t you tell? It’s spelled “Nu.”
Channel 3: 33 1/3
What a cryptic title! What could it be? I’m immediately disturbed to see a giant photo of Dire Straits, as if that’s supposed to appeal to us. This channel’s all about the middle-aged light classic rock that we’ve come to love… while at the dentist’s office. Foghat, The Hollies, Cheap Trick, etc. Meanwhile, I’m totally going to listen to this…
Eh, I’m bored with this. No more. FYI: the cover of American Way magazine has a picture of Joseph Fiennes. The headline: “Joseph Fiennes Czechs out Prague!” So clever!
This from the flight deck: we’re directly over Tulsa, OK! Did you know that Tulsa backwards is A Slut?
Guess who’s up and walking again? Old Man Oenophile! Perhaps he’s looking for a tasty Cab…
Okay, I relent. I’m going to watch Cars.
Ha. The flight attendant just removed the tomato juice while the guy was sleeping. DENIED!
Holy shit. Fat guy went back into the bathroom… ten minutes ago. I totally forgot he was in there until just now when he walked out and literally made this guilty face like “Ooooh! That was a doozy.” He did the raised eyebrows and whistle and everything. I am scared for the entire plane right now.
Musical montage in the middle of Cars. It’s a scathing commentary about the interstate highway system and its affect on rural America. Listen, Radiator Springs. Stop playing the victim. If you couldn’t keep up with the three lane highway, that’s your own damn fault!
Time for inner-strength. Fresh baked cookies… right next to my face. Must focus on Cars.
I wonder if they’re gonna show Luke Wilson’s car humping Bonnie Hunt’s car. That would be odd and disturbing. And yet, it would make watching this very average movie worth it.
Bonnie Hunt totally just told off Paul Newman. He said, “It’s best for everyone,” and she said, “Best for everyone? Or best for you?” Oh SNAP!!!
Okay, Cars is over. Probably the worst of the Pixar offerings. Now I’m crabby. But that’s probably because I’m jealous about those Business Class dining options still. I’ve seen like five plates of half-eaten poached salmon and mesclun side salads drift by my head,
Another thing that American Airlines doesn’t have: little fans above the seats. I thought those were standard with any plane these days, but I forgot that American Airlines HATES its passengers. Needless to say, it’s stuffy in here. I bet the fat guy is breaking out in a sweat.
No sooner do I write “fat guy” that he’s already shifting around in his seat, struggling to put his laptop away. He just can’t do anything smoothly. I seriously wish you all could see his face when he came out of the bathroom before. Oh, that was classic.
Guess who got an ice cream sundae? That’s right: Tomato Juice Tom. Shockingly, he actually ate it.
Fat man is up and trying to put his tray table back into his seat. And oh damn! He’s headed back into the bathroom. Seriously people, beware. It’s a miracle that I haven’t smelled anything, seeing that I’m just a few feet away. Thank goodness for that frustrating fresh-baked cookie smell!
I like how this blog has basically turned into me making fun of people in Business Class. It’s just so easy!
Some lady is waiting in line at the bathroom, not realizing that it’s in the midst of turning into a toxic danger zone the likes of which we’ve never seen (or smelled). Just go to the back of the plane, sweetheart. Just go to the back…
Four minutes and counting. It’s scary to think Fat Man didn’t get the job done the first time around. By the way, I’m sure the woman sitting in front of him loves the hourly yank her chair gets whenever he stands up.
He’s out! No embarrassed look. Maybe it wasn’t as toxic as I thought. Oooh, I can smell air freshener. Always the tell-tale sign of a coverup. Right now he’s standing over his seat, just standing there. Probably contemplating whether or not to go back into the bathroom. Now he’s looking around to see if anyone’s seen him. Will he sit? Will he keep standing? And he’s down! But the sad epilogue to this is that a nice old man is heading into the bathroom, not realizing what olfactory horrors await him. We may need a medic.
Fat Man just wiped his brow. Sweat. Of course. And he’s sitting up straight in his seat. Guilty as sin.
Well! It’s a party in here! Old Man Oenophile just got up and headed to the back of the plane. Smart move. He too was probably keeping an eye on the fat man. Either that, or he heard a rumor that there’s a killer Pinot Noir back there.
Oh, during Cars, there was minor activity in front of me. Some lady had wandered all the way up to the front of the cabin — the bulkhead, if you will — and had asked to borrow the American Way magazine. I guess she really wanted to Czech Out Prague. Anyway, I was perplexed as to why she had to come all the way up here for the American Way magazine, but she did and managed to make a loud, friendly fuss about it. You know, the sort of fuss where two people talk at once, agreeing with each other without realizing. Anyway, this is just a long way of saying she brought the magazine back (the people in front of her made her promise to bring it back. I don’t know why, but I think that’s a really funny demand: YOU MUST BRING BACK THE AMERICAN WAY MAGAZINE). Nevertheless, promise was fulfilled. The woman also was wearing a Tanglewood t-shirt. Seemed oddly appropriate. Berkshire musical festival patrons LOVE American Way magazine!
We’re beginning our descent! And the computer has lasted all the while! Amazing!
Okay, gotta turn off the electronics. It’s been fun…
6:08 PM or actually, 3:08 PM
Well, I’ve finally landed. It’s been a fun trip. One little side note, and I realize this is mildly cruel, but, well, I have to share. As I walked through Business Class, I looked down at Fat Man’s seat. I kid you not, of all the seats in the entire section (because I looked after), his was the only one with ass marks. For reals, yo. Ass marks. Fun times…
An hour and forty minutes later in Los Angeles traffic, I finally reach an internet connection. The blog is complete!