a newer one »We're on a train

All for twenty minutes


I was on flight today, sitting near the front. Despite leaving late, the flight was delayed by ultimately only twenty minutes. Something about a maintenance issue that was fixed by power cycling a system, and filling out lots of paperwork. "Did you turn it off and on again?"

After we landed, all of first class stood up. The woman in 1A declared, "Worst airline ever," and proceeded to embody every stereotype about first class being full of prilvileged assholes, words just started coming out of this woman. Not everyone in first class is a jerk, but every part of this woman told me I do not want to be friends with her.

My first thought was, "If this is the worst airline ever, lady, you haven't travelled much." I have had much worse service and much worse delays and much worse plane quality and much longer flight delays and many more cancellations than a 20 minute inconvenience that we had just experienced. We didn't need to leave the plane. We weren't fighting for the toilet paper in the back. The plane wasn't sitting in 120˚F weather while the tires melted. The plane wasn't sitting in -20˚C weather waiting in line to be defrosted. We had water and orange juice (and champagne) offered to us. We had snacks offered to us. We had clear communication and well-set expectations on our departure time. And exactly no one was delayed enough to miss connecting flights.

But, hey, worst airline ever? Far, far from it.

As the woman stood in front of her seat, guaranteed to be the first person off the plane, she kept complaining. "We are sorry for the delay. Fortunately, it appears no one will miss their connecting flights," came over the intercom. "No thanks to you," the woman declared loudly. "My husband has millions of miles on this airline, so we're stuck," she continued. "Stuck." Right, no, well-off woman attempting to be a victim, you are not "stuck" on this airline. You choose to continue flying this airline because it is less expensive than paying another airline. "I should be able to transfer my points to another airline," she whined. Or, you know, just pay for your ticket? It isn't that difficult, really.

Whenever I see someone like this, playing the part of the ugly American, I try to look inward, see the log in my eye. I am immensely grateful for my successes that provide my means for air travel. I am forever delighted at the opportunity for air travel. It is magical: you move at stunning speeds through the air and experience a new city, a new culture, a new viewpoint, a new time. It is amazing. Yeah, delays suck, they are incovenient. But a twenty minute delay? Twenty minutes. There are times when a twenty minute delay would be terrible, yes, but those aren't every day, and certainly not what this woman was experiencing (else she would have told ALL OF US about it, to be sure). i am grateful for all the people that enable my flight, not just the pilots or attendants, but also the gate agents and ground crew and food services and all the rest. There are a lot of people that help me that I don't even know about, and I am grateful for their time, their effort, and their successes. Because of them, I am able to travel in the air and land safely. How amazing is that?

As for that woman, she hustled off the plane and turned the wrong way for baggage claim.

Add new comment