A Guy Walks Onto a Plane: iPad Musings

I’m writing this on a plane. That really as far as I can take the “guy walks onto a plane” joke. However I can say that I have been doing a lot of traveling recently. So I guess that means I’ve walked onto a lot of planes recently. Now for those who know me, or those who read my previous post on air travel, you know I don’t mind it all that much. However there are certain things about flying and certain people who fly that drive me up the small, pressurized-for-my-comfort walls.

This past weekend I have been in Hollywood, FL auditioning and have had to fly in and out of Orlando airport to DC. Growing up in Orlando I feel like this airport is home. I know the A terminal and B terminal. I know the severe dearth of Starbucks in this airport. I know that security will always take me far longer than it should… and this is where our troubles begin. With all of this new “PreTSA” and “Clear” nonsense at airports, the security lines have become a total nightmare. When I was younger the security lines were like checkout lines at the grocery store. There are the express lines for travelers with a metaphorical 15 items or less. Then there is the normal line for the rest of us pions. This is no longer the case. Orlando has decided it is necessary to split it up even further. There is a line for experienced travelers, a line for travelers with small children (and all the crap that goes along with that), and then a third line which I can only assume is for the people who don’t feel like falling into either of those categories. This idea is wonderful on paper. However I ended up in the experienced traveler line (as I’ve been traveling since infancy) behind a woman who clearly hasn’t traveled since 1999 and just thought this was a shorter line. She had no clue what was happening? How do you not know what is happening in an airport security line? That’s like the people you rarely see in Starbucks who say they’ve never been there before and ask what’s good. The moral of the story is… no matter your age or how sensible your lady-loafer with a metal buckle may be, it still has to come off.

Now that I had completed our first task and retrieved the golden egg (100 points to those of you who got that reference), I was faced with another arduous task: boarding the plane. Similar to the dilemma expressed above, boarding should be rather self-explanatory. There is a number on your boarding pass. You hear the number. You board. But no… the second the lovely attendant comes on to say anything remotely related to boarding, it is like feeding time at the zoo. Everyone, including those people who bought their tickets last night, are in the last row in front of the lavatory, and are in boarding group 4, decide to stand up and hover around the door. This vulture-like circling continues for the entire boarding process, unless you’re lucky to have a gate attendant who has been up since 10 pm last night and yells something like “If you are not in Boarding Group 1 please back away from the gate door.” There are few things more amusing and more terrifying than a ticked-off flight attendant.

Now we’re on board. It’s only taken you an hour and a half, two cups of coffee, and a Xanax or two to make it this far (this is a joke… if you’re a family member reading this, I don’t take Xanax and I don’t have any psychological problems). Now comes the part that makes a grown man cry: finding out who you will be trapped next to for the next 2 hours. If your flight is a longer, international flight, this could be a defining point of your year. In movies they show the debonair guy sitting next to the cute and slightly insecure ingenue and suddenly a budding romance is formed. There are three types of people I get put next to: 1) the person with extensive tattoos who looks like he possibly murdered a bus full of nuns on his way to the airport, 2) the person who thinks that because United Airlines has put us together, God must want us to be best friends, or 3) the person who has just been so busy that they haven’t gotten around to showering since 2003. On my first flight God smiled down on me… the seat next to me was empty.