For Ryan Karas and Lindsi Stinson, it was blood. For Angela Rauen, it was urine. And for Linda Cannon, vomit.
Even though Kim Centrone made arrangements for Lufthansa to provide a bassinet for her baby on a recent flight from Washington to Frankfurt, the airline came up empty-handed. Now she wants a refund for the $1,000 extra she says she spent for the seat and the guarantee of the bassinet.
David French remembers the first time he flew with his bike, in 1977. Back then, Continental Airlines didn’t charge him to check his Gitane 10-speed from Washington to Paris, where he spent a month cycling through central Europe.
The pornographic images Elizabeth Saft recently glimpsed on her seatmate’s cellphone while she was flying from Sacramento to Minneapolis on Delta Air Lines can’t be described here.
“I told him to stop it,” says Saft, a clinical psychologist from Davis, Calif. “To which he responded: ‘Just don’t look!'”
She complained to a flight attendant, who relocated her to an open middle seat. “Needless to say, this was extremely distressing, and profoundly unfair to me,” she adds. “I believe the man should have been moved. I believe his behavior was criminal.”
Holding a plane for a passenger is an iconic customer service gesture.
In a different era of commercial aviation, before on-time arrivals became so important that aircraft doors closed 15 minutes before departure, planes were almost routinely kept at the gate for passengers who were trying to make a connection or who were just late.
Which made the story of Kerry Drake, a grief-stricken United Airlines passenger who was trying to catch a flight from San Francisco to Lubbock, Tex., so that he could say goodbye to his dying mother, so remarkable — and heartwarming.
We’re a nation of drivers, no doubt about it.
Don’t believe me? During the first five months of the year, Americans flew 321 billion miles. They drove 1.1 trillion miles. (It’s not a perfect comparison, since these are calculated slightly differently, but you get the idea.)
Last holiday weekend, less than eight percent of travelers flew to their destination. Almost 9 out of 10 drove.
You might not arrive at that conclusion from reading most travel blogs or magazines, but it’s true. For all the fretting we do about the indignities of flying, we sure don’t do very much of it.
All of which made me wonder: How far would you go to avoid a plane?