Friday, February 02, 2007


Air Travel

I had only a few days home between Israel and heading to Utah for the Sundance Film Festival. I got a cold sometime after I got home from Tel Aviv. I got rid of that cold in Utah, only to get a whole new cold after I got home from Utah. A wise friend of mine said, "You just need to stay off of airplanes for a while." And its true, I've pretty much flew around the world in 40 days. London, Israel, and the less exotic Utah. The frequent flyer miles pile up but man does the body hurt. And lets face it, flying pretty much sucks. I sat in business class to London and Israel but felt the pain of coach on my trip to Utah. Which brings us to the topic of this post.

Exit Rows.

My sister just got home from a trip and has confessed to me that her policy on planes is to request and in some cases DEMAND the exit row. And I don't blame her. There was a time in my adolescent days of business travel that I too would opt for the Exit row. You get more leg room, wonderful nods of appreciation from your fellow travelers and a sense of human heroic obligation.

Now, in the heyday of my business traveling life I push over babies waiting in line, I flash my Gold Member Mile card at every turn and I plow past the greetings of the pleasant flight attendants all in the quest of getting that coveted overhead bin space. I've earned the right to board first, get overhead space first, be belted up first, and get the lone pillow first. Mostly I've earned the right to be the first to be knocked out cold from enough Xanax and in some cases Booze and Xanax that would quiet a medium size sheep dog who was forced to sleep on a bed a push pins.

I no longer can request Exit rows because on air planes, I am no longer qualified. I leave that duty to the more alert folks on board who appreciate the leg room and relish in the opportunity to do their civic duty should they be required. Or so I thought!

On my sister's most recent flight she sat in the Exit row as per her new policy. And the very strong man seated next to her proceeded to drink 4 bottles of wine during the flight. Rendering him not drunk enough to cause an emergency landing in Dallas, but just drunk enough to make him utterly useless in the event he needed to open the door and perform the duty that befalls one who sits in the Exit row. My sister was alone, carrying the burden that no person should carry alone, regardless of their upper body strength.

Thankfully no such duties where needed on her flight. But it does beg for some questioning. Shouldn't the PA system that announces emergency procedures be revised and shouldn't new rules be applied? Instead of, "If you are seating in an emergency row and can not perform the duties please notify the flight attendant blah blah blah" (Which basically means, 'If you are to much of a sissy and if you are dumb enough to give up the extra leg room, raise you hand'). I would much prefer the announcements set some ground rules. For example, refraining from getting wasted, falling asleep or popping so many pills so that in the event your services are needed you are actually able to perform them.

In fact, the only thing you should be allowed to do on a plane in an Exit row is pray that you don't have to perform your duties.

I vote for change my friends. Someone's gotta do it, and that someone is not me.

I sat in business class to London and Israel...

Any sympathies for the author ended with that phrase, but I must say that I always look at the EXIT row people and think, "That bitch? I should be sitting there."

But for your sister's chutzpah, I would be.
But y'all WISH I would be sitting there, because I totally pay attention during the safety lesson, INCLUDING pulling out the accompanying card for a visual reference. And I know how the EXIT doors on each type of airliner works.

But I fly calm. Blissful, like a homo on Haircut Day. No phone, no responsibility. Just me, the PLAYLIST, and my book.
I've got 2 more flights to book for upcoming trips. Row 10 on Jetblue - it will be mine, oh yes, it will be MINE!
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