Monday, October 18, 2010


I’m not a nervous traveler.

True, I like to be at the airport very early (often to the point of ridicule by other less conscientious travelers).

True, I position my quart-size plastic Ziploc bag with 3.4 oz. liquids in a side-zip pocket that is quickly accessible within 3.4 seconds or less.

True, my carry-on bag is exactly the right measurements to easily fit into the little 9” x 14” x 22-inch “Does Your Bag Fit Here?” container by the check-in counter. And I never, ever, ever try to pass off a 50-pound tote bag as my ‘purse.’

True, I carefully pre-position my driver’s license in the card holder of my wallet so I can whip it out at a moment’s notice. I do not wear earrings, watches, bracelets, underwire undergarments, or other metal objects that can set off the metal detector. And true, I try to pre-eliminate anything that might hold up the any check-in lines and annoy other travelers.

No, I’m not a nervous traveler. I’m a serious traveler. I mean business when I walk into an airport. Game face, tunnel vision, all business.

That’s why my Allegiant Airline flight back to Minnesota yesterday was a little surreal.

Me: Okay, carry-on luggage secured in overhead compartment. Check. Purse tucked neatly under the seat in front of me, leaving ample room for emergency exits. Check. Seatbelt fastened. Check. Stare straight ahead and try not to look like an airline hijacker. Check.

Flight Attendant (on cabin intercom): Good morning! Thank you for flying Allegiant Airlines! It is currently 81 degrees in our departure city of Mesa, Arizona, and 40 degrees in our destination city, Fargo, North Dakota. Those of you wearing shorts may wish to wait until next June to disembark this plane in Fargo.

Me: What?!? Next June to disembark . . . oh, got it. She’s joking; the flight attendant made a joke . . . shirt tucked under the seatbelt so the flight attendant can see that my seat belt is fastened. Check. Seat in an upright position. Check. Try not to look like a terrorist. Check.

Flight Attendant: On this flight, it is strictly forbidden that passengers have in their possession all sugar-related food products. In a few moments, a flight attendant will be making her way down the aisle to confiscate all candy, cookies, and other treats that passengers may have brought on board. (gasps from passengers) . . . Just kidding!!! Had you going, didn’t I?

Me: Okay, she was just kidding, even though laughter on an in-cabin P.A. system sounds slightly evil. Adjust the air flow valve above my head. Check. Adjust the shades (window seat). Check. Fold my hands carefully in my lap. Check. Try not to look like an airline hijacker. Check.

Flight Attendant: In the event of an emergency, an oxygen mask will drop from your overhead compartment. Put the elastic band around your head and secure the mask to your face, stretching the plastic tubing to start the flow of oxygen. If you are seated next to a small child—or someone acting like a small child (ba-da-boom, pause for laughter)—be sure you secure your own mask before attempting to help that person.

Me: Oh, my gosh. She keeps making jokes . . . are flight attendants allowed to make jokes??? (Mental head shake. Game face back on.) Elbow definitely on my own arm rest and not on the armrest of the person next to me. Check. The wings are on the plane. Check. Try not to look like an airline hijacker. Check.

Flight Attendant: Our captain for this flight is Dante and the co-pilot is Jeff. My name is Tiffany, and the flight attendant in the forward cabin is Lori. It’s Lori’s birthday today. Everybody join me in wishing Lori a happy birthday!!

Entire Cabinful of Passengers (dutifully, in semi-unison): Happy Birthday, Lori!

Me: Don’t these people have last names? Dante? Tiffany? Why can’t our pilot’s name be ‘Captain Manly Courageous’ instead of ‘Dante’? Why do I wish our flight attendant’s name was something sensible like ‘Florence’ or ‘Edith’ instead of ‘Tiffany’?? Why do I wish that it wasn’t Lori’s birthday so I knew for sure she wasn’t tippling champagne in the galley to celebrate? Deep breaths . . . focus. Check. Game face. Check. Try not to look like an airline hijacker. Check.

Flight Attendant: It’s your lucky day today! We are having a fire sale of all our Allegiant souvenir gift items! Get your stocking stuffers early! We have key chains, picture frames, bracelets, earrings, golf balls—all with the Allegiant logo—at fire sale prices. The souvenir cart will be making its way down the aisle later in our flight. Cash only, please.

Me: Fire sale? Fire sale???? Was there a fire? On this airplane? Is this airplane on fire now??? How do flight attendants have time to sell stocking-stuffer key chains? Aren’t they supposed to be checking airlocks and emergency exits and oxygen levels and whether or not Dante, the pilot, is sober and qualified to fly this plane?????????????

I’m a serious traveler. I arrive early. I am prepared, cooperative, compliant, and obedient. I don’t make jokes about shoe bombs. I try not to annoy passengers around me or make unreasonable demands of flight attendants. I try to keep my personal possessions to a minimum and use only the space I am allotted . . .

My luck that I ended up with Tiffany on the Allegiant Airline Open Mic Comedy Flight.

Source of photo:


Anonymous said...

I'm glad Dante and Tiffany knew what they were doing and you made it home safely. drh

bd said...

Too funny! I am a nervous plane traveler, don't know if I could have handled the jokes....but then I have to travel with Mr. Never Serious alot-like on the Mexican border, crossing signs saying "No Jokes"...I tell him "that means YOU". Glad to see you made it home to your computer-with a story to tell-a bonus??? :-)

Mayrln L said...

Glad you're back. I continue to really, really enjoy your blog- keep it coming!

Elaine said...

I understand the serious traveler role--I am too. The jokes would not have sat well with me. I don't even talk to anyone on the plane, and I don't want anyone to talk to me. I am travelin'--that's it, nothing else; no talking, no playing, no laughing--just flying.