Sardines Seven Miles High

Being in the electronics industry means working on cool projects with cool people, but it also means other things. Like plane travel. I love flying. Not necessarily in an airplane though. I mean, I do prefer to be in an airplane when I’m flying. I’m more likely to have a subsequent flight if I first actually fly in an airplane rather than not in one. It’s just these “big” commercial airplanes that we get stuffed into these days. Most of the complaints I read about relative to commercial flying have to do with the TSA or being stuck on a runway for six hours with overflowing toilets, but I haven’t had those issues.

In point of fact, I don’t think I’ve run into a TSA person that hasn’t been polite. Especially in Portland. Still, even if they’re nice people, I really don’t like the idea of a choice between being nuked or groped. For the record, I chose to be nuked when I had to make the choice. I’m sure the government-sanctioned groper wouldn’t like it any more than I would, so I did us both a favor and stepped into the radiation chamber. I don’t feel any worse for the rays. Maybe they were nice rays.

So, I don’t have any complaints about the TSA. The crowds sometimes get me down, but all things considered, they aren’t all that bad. What does get me is the straight jackets that they call seats these days. I’m in a motel in Milwaukee right now. I’ll be heading home tomorrow. First in a mosquito plane to Chicago and then, probably, a 737 to Portland. I like the 737 in concept. It’s a good plane. I just like being able to breath a little. It’s natural to not have any room in the micro plane that I’ll take to Chicago. It’s not much bigger than my truck and will have twenty people crammed in it. You expect to be folded like a pretzel and spam crammed into one of those.

But a 737 is a big airplane. I can stand up in it and I’m not short. It’s not like a little micro car. It’s like my pickup truck (just not like it with 20 people in it). In the olden days, I preferred window seats for the view. Then I went for the aisle seats for easier access in and out. Never the middle seat. Now, though, they keep taking leg room out so I’m not so sure. The seats get smaller every time I get on a plane.

If I take the window, I’m stuck for the duration of the flight with my knees just about in my face. Leg room in the aisle seat is narrower so when I put my laptop bag down there I can’t even wedge my feet under it to steal an extra few inches. Now that they charge for checked baggage, everyone brings their luggage as carry on and there isn’t room to put both my suitcase and my laptop up in the overheads. I think they have the sky marshals throw you out the back window if you try to put both your carry-ons up top.

And so it goes. I’m just going to take whatever random seat I get and hope for the best. And I’ll feel like a king if they grant me the supreme luxury of an entire 12 oz. can of warm soda pop.

Duane Benson
Curse you Red Baron!

2 thoughts on “Sardines Seven Miles High

  1. Funny that Duane hasn’t run into in irritable TSA agent, maybe he doesn’t fly as much as the rest of us. Portland is no different and I have run into quite a few there, the irritable ones I mean. They don’t have an easy job, so it is quite likely that if Duane hasn’t come across at least one ‘impolite’ TSA agent occasionally, maybe he IS flying without a plane.

  2. I don’t fly as much as a lot of people; half dozen times a year. I know what the TSA reputaion is and from what I read, we’d be much better off if that agency was a lot smaller and perhaps set up as the watchdog instead of as both the fox and the hen house. I really don’t like being made to feel like a criminal just because I want to travel.

    In Milwaukee, this trip, just past the security station, the airport has a sign: “Recombobulation Area.” I thought the sign was hilarious and wanted to take a picture of it. But then I thought about all the stories of people being detained or hassled for taking pictures in airports. Back in my school days, we used to discuss that sort of thing about the communist Soviet Union. It doesn’t belong in this country.

    But, seriously, unlikely as it may seem, I have not run across an impolite TSA person.

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