RAYMOND REID: Flying Has Lost Its Glamour
If I can't get there by car from now on I just won't get there at all.
My "Roman Holiday" will be at the Holiday Inn in Rome, Ga. And heck, while I'm in the "Peach State" I'll just tool on over to Athens (how 'bout dem Dawgs?), because flying anywhere these days is the next thing to a Greek tragedy.
Take JetBlue -- please! What will they do next to make their flights more miserable? Show "Snakes on a Plane"? "Red Eye"? "Con Air"? Or how about some footage of the Hindenburg blowing up? Or they could continually play some of Spinner.com's top 20 worst songs of all time such as "Achy Breaky Heart" (No. 17), "Convoy" (No. 13), "Ebony and Ivory" (No. 8), "I Am Woman" (No. 6), and "Who Let the Dogs Out?" (No. 1).
I remember the good old days of airline travel -- before Piedmont Airlines got sucked up by U.S. Air. Airports were, well, airports and not "international" airports. Friendship Airport in Greensboro evolved all the way into Piedmont Triad International Airport, even though it doesn't offer any international flights. The last time I checked, Atlanta, Charlotte and Fort Lauderdale were not international destinations.
Stewardesses were stewardesses and not "flight attendants." People dressed like they were on an airplane instead of a Greyhound bus; and water came with Scotch -- free -- in first class. Now all you can get free in JetBlue's first class is the water.
If you're crammed into any other seat (now you know how a sardine feels) your water will drain you of $2. Add the Scotch, and you're on your own. And if you want to get comfortable, so to speak, you'll have to fish out $7 for a pillow and a blanket.
Not all is for naught, though. Along with your pillow and blanket comes a $5 gift certificate to Bed, Bath & Beyond. Can you get anything at Bed, Bath & Beyond for five bucks? If JetBlue is in such a squeeze, why don't they team up with Charmin? That way they could gouge you for using the bathroom, then give you a coupon good for a roll of Charmin. To further help wipe out its deficits, JetBlue is charging $20 per checked bag, whether they lose it or not.
On a recent flight I tried in vain to take on a briefcase plus a carry-on. They took away my nifty new Eddie Bauer overnight bag and said I could pick it up upon arrival in Springfield, Mo. I haven't seen Eddie since. It had some important stuff in it, too, like my shaving kit, underwear and clothes for my meeting the next morning.
Have I mentioned that my meeting the next morning was with the CEO of a Fortune 500 company? And that the only store near my hotel was a K-Mart? So, I showed up for my meeting with "Mr. Big Shot CEO" wearing nothing but "Blue Light Specials," head to toe.
I'm trying to get the airline (Northwest) to refund the $38.69 I spent on my duds, but they won't return my calls. Come to think of it, Mr. Big Shot CEO won't return my calls, either. I don't guess he wants to do business with a guy who buys his clothes at K-Mart.
I don't know where actor E.D. Nixon Jr. buys his clothes, but I do know that his days of flying Northwest Airlines are probably over. He recently was accused of striking a Northwest flight attendant and a police officer at Memphis International Airport.
Before going to jail, Nixon was taken to the hospital where he was treated for high blood pressure and elevated blood sugar.
What caused the 80-year-old Nixon to go over the edge has yet to be determined. Maybe they lost his luggage, or he had too much to drink. Or maybe they played "Achy Breaky Heart" over and over.
Or maybe, just maybe, they charged him $7 for a pillow and a blanket.
Raymond Reid can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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