WILL THE PILOT LAND ON THE RUNWAY?
This article spoofs the practice of flying with the cheapest air carrier
When it comes to air travel, a penny saved might cost a dime. I learned the hard way. To prevent repeating my error, I prepared the following checklist.
1. I make sure that the plane has a landing gear instead of pontoons. That way, I can be certain that the pilots plan to land on a runway instead of deep water. For background, I can't swim and I'm allergic to sharks.
2. I ensure that the plane has adequate leg space. That way, I will be able to walk when I get off of the plane.
3. I insist on a plane that has two engines or more. Then, if one motor fails, I won't have to walk home.
On my last trip to Las Vegas, I skimped on the air fair in order to save my money for slots. I hate to frivolously divert all my pennies to plush transportation. Dumb mistake. In the first place, Las Vegas doesn't have penny slots any more. Inflation has driven the cheap ones up to a nickel. In the second place, the cost of therapy, after getting back home, quadrupled the overall cost of my flight.
Normally, I can handle cramped spaces. However, the World War II biplane we flew had inadequate room for both legs and baggage. To compensate, I sat in a yoga position and limited my breathing. In the end, my pants looked like they came from a dirty-clothes hamper. However, they did help me blend with the Las Vegas crowd.
Economy flights don't provide enough room for food trays and breathing; for me, shallow breathing came first. Besides, peanut-bag lunches don't require support.
Coming back from Sin City presented more problems. While there, I regained the twenty-one pounds I had lost before starting the trip. Las Vegas has bargains like $1.50 strawberry shortcakes served on turkey-sized platters. Even the non-paying slots couldn't tear me away from those feasts.
Unfortunately, ten shortcakes a day put pounds on my gut. By the time we boarded the plane home, I no longer worried about lowering the food tray. I became more preoccupied with fitting my periphery between the back of my chair and the one slightly forward.
Once squeezed into place with the help of a corset, I placed the peanut-bag lunch on my lap and tried to open it with the prongs of my fork. That didn't work. The plastic shattered into 59 pieces.
Disappointed in the airline's lack of quality control, I tried to saw through the stubborn bag with a Swiss army knife I had slipped through security. It worked.
Just as success appeared to be mine, the stewardess arrived peddling drinks. I looked over the selection with consummate care. Hot coffee looked risky but I did remember someone suing a hamburger chain over a hot cup of brew that did minimal damage. Fortunately, my wife interceded and I settled for juice. Then, I scanned the line by the overworked rest room. It looked too long for comfort so I palmed the juice off on somebody else.
The elbows of the guy by the window encroached on the space reserved for my wife. To compensate my wife's elbow dug into my ribs. My elbows, in turn, needed some place to go and the one-foot-wide aisle was the only available free zone. I shrank as much as I could but my elbow still infringed on the space reserved for the stews. Bad oversight. I failed to block the attendant's left hook and got a black eye.
The minimal fares that we passengers shared encourage parents to save on the price of a sitter; many brought their children along. In addition, those kids below five got irrepressibly bored. To stir up a little excitement, they invented games like screaming or kicking the seats. The twenty-nine children on board all played both games well. My chiropractor and my ear specialist both thank them for the excellent jobs they did to my spine and my ears. The fees I paid the ear and back doctors would have covered the tab for a six-month vacation.
My trip to Las Vegas taught me a lesson. Before scheduling another flight with the town's lowest bidder, I'll measure the passenger leg space. In addition, I'll wear a back brace and carry earplugs.
A penny saved may be a penny earned, but sage travelers consider the overall cost.