Enjoy Your Flight, Kids!

Is it just me, or does it seem like commercial airline seats are shrinking?

Admittedly, my 6’4″ frame has never folded up well in airline seats of any kind, but on a recent flight to San Diego, my legs were literally pressed on the seat in front of me while I was sitting completely upright. Since the middle seat next to me was also occupied by a normal sized human being, I was essentially locked into this position for the full three-hour trip.

My absurd predicament was reinforced by the flight attendant’s closing words to her highly informative and riveting pre-flight briefing:

Sit back and enjoy the flight!

At that moment, I felt like raising my hand and saying something like this:

“Uh…excuse me ma’am. Do you mind if I ask a question? I know I am speaking for everyone on board when I say that was one of the finest safety briefings I think I have ever heard. You really rocked it, girlfriend! I especially enjoyed the piece on how to properly use my flotation device. As we all know, the likelihood of a successful water landing during a flight from Dallas to San Diego is very high, so knowing how to use my seat cushion to paddle to safety will certainly come in handy. Thank you so much!


I also appreciate your kind suggestion to enjoy the flight.  However, if it’s not too much trouble,  can you please remind me again what part of this I am supposed to find pleasurable?


Is it the part about being strapped to an uncomfortable, upright seat without moving for three hours? Because I’m not really looking forward to that. And, you know those little flaps on top of the seat you’re supposed to be able to maneuver to cradle your head? I bet those are really handy for some human beings, but they are relatively useless if your head rises six inches above the seat like mine. I just thought you should know.


Of course, I am eager for the person in front of me to recline his seat into my lap in a few minutes and completely lock me into position. Yes, I also realize that the pilot has turned on the fasten seat belt sign for my safety in case of unexpected turbulence, but can you assure him that nothing short of a complete barrel roll on his part is going to dislodge me from this seat.cramped seat


Maybe you are referring to the mid-flight refreshments that we all look forward to. Already I have had so much fun watching (and smelling) the man next to me consume an entire 20-piece box of McNuggets with BBQ sauce he brought aboard from the Dallas airport. I suppose he didn’t have time to eat his food during the thirty minute boarding protocol. Do you enjoy how some people respond to your simple question of ‘would you like cream or sugar?’ as if you had asked them the Jeopardy Daily Double? I know I do. You think they would have thought through this potential question during the 45-minute process of you rolling the cart all the way back to row 31.


It is fun to try to pull my tray down to set down my drink since it literally bounces on the top of my knees. I suspect watching me trying to maneuver my ice cup and coke while eating a half-ounce bag of nuts containing precisely three peanuts is pretty funny–kind of like watching a Tyrannosaurus make a bed. And, while it takes almost an hour to finally get something to drink, inevitably you will be back in about two-and-a-half minutes with a trash bag to get my cup, just in case that wily pilot flips on the seat belt sign again!


Oh, let’s not even talk about how much I am looking forward to visiting the fine airline restroom in the back of the plane. Seriously, were these facilities engineered by midgets? I’ve heard stories about this so-called ‘mile-high club,’ but the thought of doing ‘that’ in this space is comical to me, particularly when the simple act of washing my hands in there requires incredible dexterity on my part.


My favorite part of airline travel has to be the exciting debarking process once we land. You airline folks have really gotten this down to a fine art. Who doesn’t love this time when we finally get to turn back on our electronic devices while standing motionless for an ungodly amount of time while someone up front figures out how to open the door, ostensibly for the first time in his or her life.


Would it be okay if I just went down the evacuation slide? No. I didn’t think so–it was just an idea.


Anyhow, I just thought I would ask these questions in case you hadn’t considered them before. I’ll shut up now and get back to reading this exciting travel magazine with great information about the hot night spots in Barcelona, Spain; the top ten reasons I should travel to Moscow next winter; and the top cosmetic surgeons in Hollywood.


I hope you enjoy your flight as well!”


For those regular readers of this blog, you’re probably thinking to yourself: “Is Rob going anywhere with this train of thought, or is he just on one of his rants?”

Fair question. The answer is yes.

I couldn’t happen but think of all the parallels between being an airline passenger and daily life as a student in a typical middle or high school classroom in America today.

crowded classroom

As a student:

  • You have to line up at the door and wait for permission to enter the classroom.
  • You are crammed together with too many other students in a space which provides minimal ability to move and interact with others.
  • You are told where to sit and have no option for upgrading your seat.
  • You must SIT upright in a hard, uncomfortable seat for hours each day.
  • You are not allowed to choose who sits next to you.
  • You are told when you can get up and when you cannot.
  • You are only allowed carry on bags of a certain size or dimensions.
  • You are not allowed to bring in any food or beverages from outside the room.
  • You are not allowed to use your electronic device unless given explicit permission.
  • You often have to do your work on a tray table that is too small and ergometrically unsound. If you happen to be left-handed, well…good luck with that!
  • You cannot use the restroom without permission.
  • You often are unsure of the “destination” of the flight. You simply know you’ll be on-board for fifty minutes.
  • You are forced to listen to an adult talk to you about information that often has no meaning or relevance to your real life. There is really no time to ask many questions so you’re expected to pay attention and get it the first time. Keeping that in mind, the adult will then be able to say he or she “taught you how to use your flotation device.” Therefore, it will be entirely your own fault if you “drown”.
  • You have to rush through crowded hallways to get to your next “flight”.
  • You have no right to argue with any of the flight crew at any time.

So kids, on behalf of the captain and crew, just sit back and enjoy your flight. We know you have no choices but appreciate you flying with us anyway.

Like the airlines, we expect you to fit in the same seats, follow the same rules, learn the same things, keep your mouth closed, and just do your best to enjoy endure the learning experience. And we ask it from you hour after hour, day after day, year after year.

I cannot imagine why some kids don’t like to come to school, can you?

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