14 November 2006
Steerage in the stratosphere
It's not that I'm suffering from Fear of Flying, which is more precisely described as Fear of Crashing; I've logged tens of thousands of miles over the years. (There was a brief period in my early twenties when I'd flown more miles than I had driven.) But I seldom bother these days. One reason is simple efficiency: except for the World Tours in the summertime, most of my destinations are fairly close by, and while flying is quicker, there's still the annoyance of lining up ground transportation at the destination point. Unless the fare is incredibly cheap there once was a time when Southwest offered an occasional OKC-MCI (Kansas City) one-way fare for $19 plus tax it's less of a hassle to drive.
These days you arrive in London, the south of France, or Shanghai feeling and looking like a dried-up piece of old toast. Not chic. Crabby flight attendants, screaming children, stinky diapers, and a lack of water make airplanes the modern-day equivalent of dodo birds circling the earth at 30,000 feet. I don't want to get on anything called an airbus! I'm not flying so I can take the bus. Give me a supple leather Hermès overnight bag, filled with unguents and potions, gently tucked into an overhead compartment. I want to be served by a lovely young man or woman gaily skipping down a spiral staircase in a cute little outfit designed by one of Halston's successors. Let them bring me a glass of champagne with a twinkle in their eyes. Where's my application for the mile-high club? I want to "fly the friendly skies" again.
This isn't exactly my vision of a successful flight, but it's a hell of a lot closer than any of us are likely to see any time soon; God forbid the TSA should find anyone bearing unguents. Where's Braniff when you need them?
(Found in The Out Traveler, Winter 2006.)Posted at 6:17 AM to Dyssynergy