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Why I Hate Flying
"Why I hate flying" diatribes:

Part I can be found as my short story "Flying With Children", which is based on actual events.
Part II: My journey to and from California in 2004.
Part III comes from John Kovalic, our favorite Muskrat: Toronto to Helsinki  Begin at the link, and keep going until he makes it to Helsinki.
Part IV compliments of Scott Adams, creator of DilbertI Love Technology.
Part V from my friend, D. Jackson: "All because I didn't check to see if my alarm was set for 3:30am or 3:30pm."
Part VI from my friend Lucien Soulban: The letter he sent to the airline.
Part VII from Meg Cabot.

To/From California 2004:
The only bad thing about the weekend was, of course, that the airline industry lived down to my expectations. I submit the following examples:
-the gentlemen seated next to me on the flight from Madison to Chicago who thought my shoulder was a good pillow
-the seat on the flight from Chicago to San Francisco that was so small it bruised my hips
-sitting on the aisle on the flight from Chicago to San Francisco, thus being bumped every two minutes by everyone and everything that moved in the aisle (and no one ever said "excuse me")
-Waiting to check in for a midnight flight because airport security does not allow check in of luggage more than four hours before takeoff
-Overpriced airport food: $2.50 for a bottle of soda and $2.75 for a bottle of water is usurious
-the VCR malfunctioning on the flight from San Francisco to Chicago, thus making the flight attendants act out the safety procedures and making watching Moosewood impossible
-which is okay because the set of headphones I was given didn't function either, so I couldn't hear the movie anyway
-Having to travel from the C terminal at O'Hare to the F terminal through a tunnel that had been decorated by someone who obviously took acid and thought dancing neon lights are cool
-missing our flight from Chicago to Madison because they changed the gate AND DIDN'T TELL US!
    Seriously, we were sitting at gate F2, and when our flight was never called, Brian looked at the departure screen again and saw that the flight had been changed to F6. At F6, we were informed our flight had already left, and why didn't we look at the departures screen again to insure that our flight was still leaving at the same gate? Needless to say my husband and I both resisted our first impulse to throttle these imcompetents who couldn't understand why we were so irate. Then I explained: 1. had we caught this flight, we would have been home in an hour, and 2. we had been awake for over 24 hours trying to fly across country. Now, we'd been sitting at F2 for two hours and had seen the lengths the people at the gate go to find passengers. They make announcements over the PA system "Passenger so-and-so, final boarding for flight ### at gate ###." The people at F6 didn't try very hard to find us, and the people at F2 should have said, "If you're flying to Madison, that gate is now F6." They put us on a 10:05 flight leaving from, you guessed it, the C terminal. Mercifully they pointed us to a shuttle to take us back to C without going through the neon tunnel again. When the shuttle driver said, "Good morning," I replied, "No it has not been."
    Back in terminal C, Brian confirmed that we were in the right place, and I asked to speak with a manager. The manager was wonderful, easy to talk with, and agreed that the people in the F terminal did not do their jobs properly. She sent my complaint to the manager in F terminal and gave coupons for $150 off our next flight, provided we fly within the next year.

Dilbert Blog, October 2005
    I love Technology
    Today (the day I wrote this) I woke up early because I have a cross-country flight. I fired up my computer and used the airline’s web site to change my seat assignment and print out my boarding pass.
    Well, technically, I spent an hour trying to do that, but the web site kept melting down at different points until I finally gave up and called their 800 number and handled my transaction in an efficient manner using their speech recognition system.
    Well, technically, I spent 15 minutes crawling through the automated menus until my cat climbed on the desk and meowed into my speakerphone. That put the system into a mode where my only two choices were “before the flight” and “during the flight.” That’s not the sort of question you want to answer without knowing the context, so I bailed out and called again. This time I efficiently handled my transaction using their sophisticated phone system.
    Well, technically, I spent what seemed like a lifetime crawling through the automated voice menus until I got an option of talking to a live person. The live person courteously and efficiently handled my transaction.
    Well, technically, the system said it was transferring me to the next available agent but it disconnected me instead. On my second try, I got a nice woman in India who helped me change my seat. Then I had a wonderful flight.
    Well, technically, the airline’s automated message called me an hour later and said my flight was cancelled for no particular reason. But I was automatically rebooked to a new and better flight with excellent seats and vegetarian meals. There was a good chance I could get backrubs from attractive flight attendants too.
    Well, technically, they booked me on an overnight flight that would guarantee that when I gave my keynote speech to crowd of 1,000 industry leaders soon upon landing I would look like a heroin-addicted badger that had stowed away in a jar of mayonnaise
    But no problem. I changed airlines and booked a more reasonable flight. Then I breezed though the security screening and had a wonderful travel experience.
    Well, technically, when you make a one-way flight at the last minute, it raises some red flags on someone’s computer. A potato-shaped woman with unfashionable glasses herded me into the “severe search” line. Someone told me to stand in a high tech phone booth sort-o-thing that blew air on me, analyzed it, and informed the technician whether I had been in contact with explosives lately. I passed the test, but I spent the whole time wondering how I could get some.
    Now I’m sitting in the airport, waiting for the flight that will probably be hijacked, while writing this blog entry on my laptop.
    I’m still optimistic about the backrubs.
Posted October 31, 2005 in Travel

Meg Cabot Blog
Saturday, July 18, 2009 Bedlam at Gate 10
    Hi! I am stuck in the Atlanta Airport (Gate E10, to be exact) after being stuck at the Key West airport for approximately four hours earlier today with an entire Cub Scout Troop.
    (I felt so sorry for the troop leader, I wanted to offer him a Vicodin. But then I was like, “Oh, no, if he’s out of it, then who will protect the rest of us from them?”)
    And now my bag is lost. And I am losing battery power on my laptop as I write this. And there are no more plugs. And I have a bunch of stuff due, like, now. And there are five small (seeming unrelated to one another) children screaming next to me.
    Where I’m trying to get is Minneapolis in time for my signings there tomorrow and Monday.
    Tomorrow (Sunday) I’ll be speaking and signing books from 2PM-4PM at
    Red Balloon Children’s Bookstore
    891 Grand Avenue
    St. Paul, MN 55105
    Tel: 651-224-8320
    I know it’s a children’s bookstore, but don’t worry if you’re not a kid…we’re all kids at heart! Don’t lie and pretend you didn’t go to Harry Potter this weekend (and loved every minute of it, especially all the snogging.)
    (I promise the children at Red Balloon are better behaved than the ones around me right now.)
    And yes, bringing books from home for me to sign is fine.
    But it’s always polite to buy a book from the store while you’re there so the bookseller hosting the signing makes a little $ in these hard times. Surely you know someone having a birthday or have a little early Christmas shopping to do.
    And on Monday I’ll be speaking and signing from 11AM-Noon at
    Alltel Convention Center
    1 Civic Center Plaza
    Mankato, MN 56001
    The focus of my speech on Monday will be writing, myself (of course), the Princess Diaries books, and the Betsy-Tacy books (I’ve written the foreword to the new HarperCollins edition to Betsy Was a Junior and Betsy and Joe, my favorite books in the series).
    I’m excited to be involved in the reissues of these classics, along with two of my favorite writers, Anna Quindlen and Laura Lippman (sadly, these reissues won’t be out until the Fall, though, so you won’t be able to buy the reissue with my forward there).
    This is all dependent on if I GET to Minnesota. In the meantime, I’m being thwarted by Delta Airlines. Yes! I’m talking to YOU, Delta Airlines!
    (Also, no, kid, you CANNOT have some of my almonds that I bought with my $7 meal voucher. Get away from me.)
    Apparently, Delta schedules their flights, and accepts payment for them.
    But they don’t actually SEND THE JETS TO PICK PEOPLE UP until they feel like it.
    Never mind that because of this I completely missed my connecting flight (and was told my bag is going to arrive in Minnesota at one time and I am going to arrive in Minnesota at another time, but these will not be the same time.)
    (Now the kids are fighting over their Gameboys and pulling each other’s hair. Keeping it classy here at Gate E10 at the Atlanta Airport.)
    Oh, and that Delta’s sending that original plane so late was an “act of God” so not to expect a reimbursement on the difference in the cost of the seats since I paid for first class (because I’m fancy), but my seat on the new flight is coach.
    (Now one of the kids is smearing pizza on the wall. I am not even kidding.)
    You know what an “act of God” is? Daniel Craig.
    Sending the plane you bought a ticket for three hours late is not an act of of God (especially when other planes for your destination were leaving during that time but no one would let you get on one).
    (The woman sitting next to me just said, “If those kids don’t quit their fussin’, I’m gonna smack’em myself. Like we don’t have enough problems with our plane being late and our bags lost and these here seven dollar vouchers. Like you can buy a meal for seven dollars!”)
    Amen, sister.
    On the plus side, I’ll soon be fitting into those skinny jeans I bought last summer, but which have been giving me a little muffin top lately.
    I suggest Ruby from the Style Network try flying Delta Airlines for the next stage of her diet plan.
    See you tomorrow, Minnesota (hopefully)!
    More later.
    Much love,