High (Altitude) Jinx, a Prelude

Every time I get on a plane, something bad happens.  I’m like a banshee for flights, or the air travel equivalent of Jessica Fletcher from Murder, She Wrote.  (In the 80s and 90s, her arrival in any location meant someone was going to die there.  People should have arranged for her to spend time around folks whom they didn’t like.  I don’t know how she had friends; they usually became murder suspects.)  If you see me in line at the airport, you’ll probably be well served by buying train tickets instead.  Hire a sled-dog team if you must.  Better to cross the desert tied to the back of a flatulent walrus than to get on a plane with me.  (If that last happens though, you might want to rethink your life choices in general.)

In any event, before you leave remind me to take my own advice.

My family had to travel recently.  I hate to fly, but less than my daughter hates to be strapped into a safety seat for a long car ride.  I can at least tell myself that aeronautical disasters are unlikely; my daughter isn’t soothed by anything.  Flying seemed the prudent choice.  Our trip didn’t exactly proceed smoothly however:

  •             My wife wet her pants.
  •             I assaulted a stewardess.
  •             We destroyed a plane.
  •             Our daughter tried to maul a large dog.

Yeah, you read correctly.  (Just to clarify a little bit, we’re not actually monsters or criminals.  Everything will make sense soon.)  What can I say?  We have interesting vacations.

I’ll start with my wife’s part of the story; I don’t want to leave anyone with the wrong impression.  She’s not really incontinent.  She’s just clumsy in ways that conspicuously involve her pants.

To understand what happened though, I have to talk about airlines.  We were introduced to a certain new airline recently, one that offered low fares on Spartan flights to justifiably unpopular airports.  Being the sort of people we are, we focused on the “low fares” part of the description, rather than the lack of amenities or the fact that we needed to board our plane in a swamp full of ravenous mutant alligator demons.  (I might be exaggerating again.)  Unfortunately, that means we focused on the only part of the description that wasn’t true.

The airline didn’t warn us about their mountain of bizarre and unavoidable fees.  I’m pretty sure at one point they inspired us to consider traveling without shoes, because it would be simpler and cheaper.  I think they charged a fee for wanting a seat, too.  My favorite was the “convenience fee” that they charged because we booked our flight over the phone.  We could have avoided it by booking at the airline’s ticket counter in the airport, but that counter was only open one hour each week, and that hour was subject to change without notice.  (About this I’m not exaggerating at all.  I have an amusing story as evidence, one in which police nearly roust me; I’ll tell it soon.)

During the flight they wouldn’t even give us a drink of water without charging extra, and, as we were their captives at the time, they wanted us to pay as though for a drink of diamond filled angel tears.  My wife cleverly snuck a bottle of tepid airport water on board–that’s about as far as it’s possible to get from angel tears, for the record–but was hoping for something cooler.

At this point the stewardesses actually offered a cup of ice to her.  In this way they sealed her doom.

The plane took flight; our daughter curled up for a nap on my belly; no part of the plane exploded or tore away from the fuselage.  We thought we might survive the trip without incident.  I even managed to drift away to sleep in spite of my fear of flying.  (Panic is exhausting, as it turns out.)  My wife, seeing all of this, settled in for few hours of quiet reading.  Then she decided to drink her water.

Flight attendants must practice pouring drinks on a moving plane.  My wife doesn’t.  The cup of ice was the only thing she didn’t pour water on.  All of the sudden I heard her plaintive cry–“Oh no, my water!”–and turned to see her rather embarrassing wardrobe situation.  The only luxury she’d managed to secure from the airline had double-crossed her.  Instead of being able to enjoy a cool drink, she had to sit in soggy britches the entire flight.

Nevertheless, that was the actually the high point of our travels.

When my story continues, I discover multiple ways in which planes aren’t designed for someone my size, one of which caused an unfortunate altercation.


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