Thursday, June 23, 2005

"Come Fly with Me, Come Fly, Come Fly Away"

Blogroll Me!

I feel the need to talk about air travel and some of my past experiences.

I took my first airplane trip when I was about 8 years old, back in 1969. I flew with my mother and brothers (my father stayed behind to manage my parents' clothing store) to Mexico City via CP Air/Canadian Pacific Airways. I don't remember too much of that first flight, but I remember the official outfits and caps the stewardesses wore, and all the neat little miniature dishes that would serve me well because I was, after all, a little kid!

Future flights took me to Mexico City, Switzerland, Amsterdam, Israel, Chicago, New York City, Baltimore, Philadelphia, etc. and each time I took in the details of the aircraft and the people who served it.

There was a time about 15 years ago that I was going to Baltimore to a family bar mitzvah. I drove with my brother to Buffalo, where we caught a flight to Philadelphia and would take a connection to Baltimore. The Buffalo-Philly flight was a larger plane but offered nothing but soft drinks for the short haul. The Philly-Baltimore flight was a tiny, commuter, propeller-run plane. I was laughing silently the whole flight because I was the only female on the plane, aside from the stewardess, and the captain announced, "Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking..." I wanted to yell out and correct him. And this very short haul was offering drinks and snacks and the stewardess drew the curtain in the galley so that she could prepare the goods in privacy. There've been times when I've been the only female in an elevator, but I've certainly never been the only female passenger in a plane before or since this experience. I thought I was part of a Saturday Night Live skit.

I find that airline ticket prices are so steep, but the service has cut back greatly. Yes, I receive Kosher meals when I fly, and know that people are looking at what I'm eating when I'm served first; so I sneak a peek at what they're eating when it's their turn. This past weekend, I noticed that the non-Kosher meals had the same flimsy, small plastic cutlery and throwaway dishes that I was served with. Once upon a time, they had silverware to use, now it was disposables.

Or when I was young, I'd like to "schnorr" the little hand soaps or lotions that I'd sometimes find in the bathrooms; these days there's nothing of the sort, just one pump bottle of soap to use. No moist towelettes or hot towels are offered any longer to passengers that fly economy; once upon a time they were. No magazines or newspapers are offered to economy passengers anymore; they are reserved for business or first class.

I was somewhat floored when I witnessed the following this past weekend en route to Los Angeles. There was a passenger sitting in the first row of economy; he got up to go to the nearest bathroom, which was ahead of him in business class. When he reached the bathroom, the stewardess in the nearby galley sent him back and pointed him in the direction of the economy class bathrooms at the back of the plane. Wow, this person even had to have reservations in order to pee in business class!

What's the difference? I wondered.

Oh ya, maybe the little soaps and lotions that are no longer in the economy-class bathrooms, are sitting in the business-class bathrooms for little schnorrers to scoff them...just because they paid the right price for their airline ticket!

"Come fly with me...come fly away..."


cruisin-mom said...

Hi Pearl...this is Randi W. from Roberts blog. Your airplane story reminds me of a
Seinfeld episode where Jerry is basking in the glory of sitting in first class, being served Champagne, hot towels, and seated next to a beautiful woman...all this while Elaine is on the same plane in economy class, with horrible food, no leg room and everything bad that can possibly happen. The camera cuts back and forth to show the difference between the two classes...I can't remember all the details but your story reminded me of that and how absurd the whole thing is. Oh well, at least they don't allow smoking anymore!

treppenwitz said...

Oh great... now I'm gonna have that song bouncing around my head for the rest of the day! Great post, though. :-)

Norma said...

I bought some circa 19060's TWA chinaware a few years ago at a fleat market. Friends always think I paid $$$ at some fancy store for them.