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Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Lazy Hazy Days of Summer Travel Are Upon Us.

                The days when we can relax. Plan vacations with family and for authors, hit up a few writer’s conferences. The rub is, how do we get to our personal paradise, our mountaintop, or a delightful hotel where we can learn more about our craft and meet our adoring fans?
Unless you live in the Northeast corridor where you can travel by train, most of us are restricted to either car or plane. In the past, the plane was always my choice. Hands down. Now, not so much. In fact National Lampoon’s Griswold vacations would be preferable to flying these days.
I live an hour and a half from the airport. Yes, there is a closer airport (45 min.) but all of the flights out of there use those teeny tiny planes. I don't know about you but, I really don't care for flying on a plane you can lean out the window to smoke a cigarette.  Anyhow, the airlines are recommending you arrive at the airport an hour and a half before flight time. Say I have a 10 o'clock flight. I have to leave the house by 7 AM. That means I need to get up by 5 AM. Ugg.  I carefully weigh my luggage to make sure it isn't over the limit and I'm on my way. Airports no longer have curbside check-in so I trudge inside, stand in line and listen to airline personnel tell irate fliers, a) they cannot carry on a piece of luggage the size of the lazy boy recliner. Which by the way I suspect contained two small children. b)  Their luggage has exceeded the weight limit by 45 pounds. Oh my! The language.
I finally make it to TSA and place my electronics in the plastic bin, remove my shoes and go through an x-ray kind of machine that I am sure in 20 years we will hear is the cause of some kind of cancer and hope I’m singled out to be groped.  I do love a good groping.
BTW does anyone else find it odd the TSA allows small knives on flights? They really are convinced 4 ounces of shampoo is more dangerous than a knife with a 3 inch blade.
At the gate I’m told the departure gate has been changed to one, you got it, on the other side of the airport. It’s boarding time so I rush to the new gate to discover the flight has been delayed an hour.  Finally it’s time to board and no many how many times the gate attendant says they are boarding by zones people try to cut. I also realize the contingent of Sumo wrestlers are on my flight and I’m wedged between them. In flight I watch fascinated as several of these large men get up to use the lavatory. Fascinated you ask? Um yeah. How the bloody hell do they fit in there? And… where did they…?  All I knew for sure is I’m holding it until we land.
The guy in front of me reclines the seat all the way back and I can see the lice in his greasy hair.  Why do they allow that?  The seats to recline, not the lice. I mean the seats are closer than hormonal teenagers parked on a dark street. Geeze. And what about the guy who unwraps his smoked goat meat and onion sandwich, snarfs it down and belches the rest of the flight so you get to keep smelling it?
BUT… all that said there is a way to avoid a lot of that mess. Rent a private jet or, upgrade to first class. I know some of you prolific writes can afford the twenty-five grand for a jet rental but I can’t. So, I have an airline credit card and use it to earn frequent flyer miles. What does it do for me? I avoid long lines, no limit on luggage, board first and have a drink in my hand while the cattle car passengers file to the back of the plane. The airline card also offers me passes to the airline’s airport club where I can sit in comfortable chairs, have a drink, and on one occasion rub shoulders with the secret service. Still have to go through TSA but, then why miss the possibility of a good groping?      

How do you manage your travels?


Clare London said...

Rita, great post! I started with a laugh at "They really are convinced 4 ounces of shampoo is more dangerous than a knife with a 3 inch blade" and didn't stop grinning :). I've done more travelling in the last 5 years than in all my life before that, and I'm working on getting the process down to minimum hassle.

That was until one trip where I arrived at my local airport to start the journey, pulled up the handle of my case to drag it off to Check-In, the handle came off in my hand and small screws and washers flew everywhere on the airport floor!

Rita said...

Clare I gave up on expensive luggage aqnd get the cheapest available in some awful color. I write all over it. All the cons I've been to ect. then spray it with the stuff used to make tents waterproof. When the recording comes on at the airport to check your luggage because bags look alike I giggle. Mine sure as heck doesn't. Just got back from Lori Foster's event and current suitcase is being retired. lasted 4 years so i can't complain.

Toni Anderson said...

LOL--I hate the lice. I HATE the LICE! Love the post though.

I want to travel with Rita :)

Wendy Soliman said...

Rita, I spend half my life travelling and I hate, detest and can't abide airports. They used to be fun. Now the terrorists have won. Bah!

Rita said...

Toni would love to travel with you. Don't you use the private jets?

Rita said...

Wendy these sickos winning is what infuriates me. I amuse myself by watching men and trying to decide what kind of lovers they would be. That’s a whole ‘nuther blog.

Anne Marie Becker said...

I say we all rent a private jet for our next excursion! (That guy with the goat-and-onion sandwich sat next to me last time. He must travel a lot!)

Maureen A. Miller said...

Great post, Rita. I spent 17 years traveling for a living. I had reached the point where I just wanted to wear velcro clothing to give them easier access. :)

After those days, now I get hives at the mere thought of approaching an airport.

Rita said...

Oh Anne Marie sorry. Did he belch a lot also?

Rita said...

17 years-yikees. Velcro clothing???? hmmm sounds like a possibility.

Elise Warner said...

Thanks for the laughs, Rita. Loved the post. the knives are back to being banned--the outcry worked. Still resent having to give up a bottle of limoncello we forgot to pack.

Rita said...

Elise I would have been tempted to drink the whole thing.

Marcelle Dubé said...

Oh, Rita, I *so* understand. But you forgot to mention about the times your flight gets re-routed to Yakutat, Alaska, into a gale, in order to avoid a skiff of snow on your home tarmac. I'd never even heard of Yakutat. They had to open the local lodge (closed for the season) and feed us.

Jean Harrington said...

The comments are all hilarious, leaving me to say, "I think I'll stay home." Great post Rita, thank you

Rita said...

Marcella that's crazy at least you had a place to shelter

Rita said...

Jean these days you have to laugh or you'll cry.

Cathy Perkins said...

Since I'm on a two week, multi-city, day-job dog & pony show adventure (with Lori Foster squeezed in the middle) I'm fantasizing about my own bed, my own shower, hot tub, hot husband... Oh wait, we're still laughing at the lunacy of air travel.
SeaTac shut down one of the screening stations today--not one of the machines, the whole station--backing lines deep into the corridors. Who knows why? TSA equivalent of the Blue Flu? It was a gorgeous day. Needless to say, I didn't bother to take out the bag of liquids. They didn't ask about them.
I feel so safe.
Our local puddle jumper (the kind with propellers, gate-checked bags and no first class section) has nice leather seats and the steward/stewardess hands out glasses of a local microbrew or wine for the short flights. A much nicer atmosphere than the cattle car aspects of the larger carriers.

Shelley Munro said...

Loved the post, Rita. Traveling seems to be much easier down this end of the world. I HATE, HATE, HATE flying through US airports. Heck, you practically have to disrobe to get through security. Airports are great places for people watching though :)

We still have security but it all seems to work at a faster pace and more efficiently without the security staff barking at everyone.

Hubby and I do a lot of cruising these days and that is very civilized.

Suitcases in eye-catching colors are best or tie a bright ribbon around a black case. Wheels are a must and careful packing is necessary. Overpacking just means there is no room for purchases :)

Rita said...

Cathy can you encourage that airline to go national? I think if you want to find stuff use dogs. I don't know about all this cause I don't feel safer. But I do enjoy the occasional groping

Rita said...

Shelley each time I get interested in a cruise some crazy thing happens putting me off it again.

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