Up, Up and Away

I am facing a couple of plane flights – one shortish to Boston this month and one long to Ireland next month. I am not looking forward to either of them.

Why you might ask? First, I hate the anthills of airports, the endless walks between gates and to baggage claim (have you ever checked out the Amsterdam airport? I believe if you got lost there, you might never be found – either that or reappear as a well-toned marathoner).

Second, the airplane seats have gotten small and smaller. At first I just thought my derriere was getting bigger and bigger, and I figured the airlines should create a business, persuading people to diet to be more comfortable.  And some new seats are made of hard plastic – just what my piles appreciate!

It also occurred to me that my legs must have grown longer, since I had so little room in which to squish them. Since I was born in the Dark Ages, I should be in a medical journal for leg growth after forty.

Third, when the person in front of you puts their seat back, voila! – you have the food on your tray table right under your chin, so you don’t need a napkin.

Forth, there are the bathrooms, or the ‘lavs’ in flight lingo. I already suffer from claustrophobia when I get into one and close the door, elbows hitting the walls. Now they are even smaller. You have to enter sideways and then attempt to turn around to close the door and lower yourself to the toilet seat. Lowering your pants is akin to playing Twister. Remember that game? And you can only wash one hand at a time. I recommend the airlines offer catheters to anyone with a wide-body or in a wheel chair.

I have heard of some interesting proposals for future air travel. The first is that passengers will travel standing up. Two visions come to mind – the packing of passengers like sardines (pass the oil, please, and we can slither in a few more) and the chaos that would ensue in turbulence if you are just tethered to the ceiling. Maybe they will have a steel rod to which you will be affixed to prevent you from moving around. And what happens when your flight is delayed by seven hours on the tarmack? Instant venous thrombosis!

Actually, this is not a fantasy, folks.  At the Aircraft Interiors Expo 2018 in Hamburg, the SkyRider 2.0 design on display aimed to help airlines squeeze in more passengers by allowing an “ultra-high density” and reducing the space between rows. The seats have high backs and a seat shaped like a short saddle, akin to standing in the stirrups on a horse. Aviointeriors , the developer, actually compared the seating position to that of a horseback rider, pointing out that cowboys can sit on saddles for hours without feeling uncomfortable. Oh yeah? I’m no cowboy and just where did the term saddlesores come from? I guess we could call them giddy-up seats.

The other proposal is actually more benign: changes to middle seats – those torture boxes of confinement between two elbows and spreading fat rolls. To get more people to select them, a company plans on  offering middle seats that are set back a little from the ones on either side, and are also a little lower to the ground, thus preventing the intrusion of elbows. Oh, and they would be a teensy bit wider, too.

Needless to say, Hubs and I now fly business class unless it’s a short flight. We flew what I call subtourist on a recent flight to Chicago, where we sat rigidly forced into a child-sized seat that sloped down and forward so we would slide off without the seat belt. It’s called a change in the seat pitch, to decrease leg room.

Happy flying!

Check out Elizabeth Calwell’s   Dear Passenger: Welcome to My Wacky World as a Flight Attendant.

Dear Passenger: Welcome to My Wacky World as a Flight Attendant

or any of Barb Taub’s posts on travel – she’s way funnier than I am! Find her n her blog: Writing and Cofee. Especially Coffee.



24 thoughts on “Up, Up and Away”

  1. Bushwa! Noelle, it’s been decades since I’ve been on a plane. I didn’t realize quite how torturous they’ve become. Those saddle seats would be funny if it wasn’t a serious proposal… Are they equipped with a lasso so you can rope your destination when the plane flies over? (shakes head) I hope your journeys are as pleasant as possible. Hugs.

  2. petespringerauthor

    I still like to fly, (as opposed to driving) but things just keep getting a little more inconvenient. The cramped seats, paying for everything, climbing over the sleeping neighbor, or worse—having them use your shoulder as a pillow. The seats are lousy now—but standing up??? There will be people passed out in the aisles. More obstacles to dodge as I twist my body into shapes that would make Houdini proud as I enter the bathroom.

  3. Those sound awful! Name the airlines, please! Good thing I hardly fly anywhere these days, although if You’re in Ireland, maybe I should nip acorss for a few days for a cup of coffee with you – or something black and in a glass!

  4. OMG, you just reminded me about everything I hate about flying. And as for the “lavs” on flights, I won’t go in one unless it’s a dire emergency. I have this insane fear of getting stuck in there.

    As for those planes of the future and those in concept design—HORRORS!–I shudder just thinking about them.

    Safe travels and I hope your flights are smooth, without incident and as comfortable as can be!

    1. I’m with you, MC – I dread flying and view it as a necessary evil to get where I want to go. I dream of Star Trek days when you can just ‘beam’ somewhere. Thanks for your good wishes!

  5. I hope you have good flights. The experience has definitely changed over time. I like the idea about the middle seat, though. That sounds more reasonable than the other suggestions!

  6. Denis Thomas DuBay

    Yeah, I’ve noticed the leg room and elbow room decreasing, and when a seat goes back, watch out! Well, mine then goes back too. As for saddles, no thanks. I’ll take a train or a boat? Enjoy Ireland. We loved it and I hope we can return one day.

  7. I wish I was in Ireland to say hi in person but I’m working in Manchester, will you be hopping over into England? You’d love Chester for the history and Cheshire Oaks for shopping and Liverpool of course for both.

    I’ve treated myself to a Humidiflyer it’s been working a treat on long trips but you do get strange looks 😄.

    I hope this current rain ☔️ stops for you otherwise get a good brolley.

    1. We will definitely bring a brolly! Will not be able to make it to England, which I would dearly love to do – but my daughter is expecting her first child and I don’t like being away for long periods of time. We hope to get to Scotland enxt year and that might give us an opportunity to stop in England. Maybe at a time you will be singing?

      1. It stops me drying out if I fall asleep. My Nana had started getting wheezy after flights and colds and we bought her one for Christmas and she was fine the last couple of flights she went on.

  8. I dislike flying for all the reasons you mentioned here. I am claustrophobic also. If I didn’t love traveling to places once I get there, I would never get on a plane again

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