“It must be so great to travel for business,” I mused to my husband a few weeks ago. “Flying seems so glamorous, so jet set.” Was I wrong!
Some of my most pleasant memories of childhood include flying. Back then, the airplane seemed so clean, the food really good. The 1970s was the era of the frozen dinner and miracle food in a can, and my childhood home kept up with the newest fads. The first sushi I ever had was on an airplane when I was thirteen years old; a futo maki roll made in some factory hidden away in the hills somewhere, but it was so good I’ve still retained a visual memory of the roll itself. And those reheated dinners in coach, yum! Those crunchy peas were the tastiest vegetables I’d ever had until I turned 18 and left home.
Yesterday, I left home at five in the morning on a marathon trip to pick up a new Siberian kitten at LAX. I was so excited about the journey, I woke up at 4:30 a.m. before my alarm clock rang – and was out the door. I was flying on an employee standby ticket since my dad is a retiree of United Airlines. When I checked in at the kiosk, the screen read “Are you in compliance with the employee dress code policy?” Dress code policy? I ride first class in sweatsuits, Mr. Roboto!
I was wearing jeans and open toed shoes, and memories of being a child, flying when there was an open seat for the employees’ rugrats, and shifting around wearing crunchy polyester, came flooding back. I told myself the airline employees would let it slide, but one look at anyone who works in an airport and you pretty much have to accept that “Nothing slides around here. If we ain’t happy, you ain’t happy!”
The new reality of air travel - read more in the latest issue of Our USA.