And We’re Off!

April 30, 2009 - 3:08 am 2 Comments

So here I am, finally on my way to Ireland with Stef…

The taxi ride on the way to the airport was a bit of an adventure. Our driver enjoyed the brake pedal but did not enjoy main roads, using every conceivable back road to get us to the airport. And we were in a bit of a rush, since Continental Airlines had called us earlier to tell us that our flight was canceled and that we had been put on an earlier one. In the end, our new flight was delayed so that it was leaving at about the same time that our old flight was scheduled to leave, so it all worked out. We caught our connecting flight, and we are finally on our way, over the Atlantic at the moment and on our way to Dublin at this very moment.

Newark to Dublin

This flight was off to an ominous start. First, there’s a reason they board the planes from the back to the front. Why don’t people realize this? Especially the ones who just have to sit in 16C when they are boarding rows 30-40? Do they just HAVE to get on board first? Is it SO important for them to warm up their seat before takeoff that they need to delay the hundreds of passengers behind them for a few moments? It is in these cases that I like to use math to quantify selfishness. Ten seconds times 200 passengers inconvenienced equals 2000 Selfish Points (SP).

Even before getting to our seats, we could tell that the air conditioning didn’t work. The cabin was disgusting. And the video system didn’t work. Rebooting it 48 times didn’t seem to help, so they just turned the units off. No maps or movies or games for us. After pulling back from the gate, the air conditioning nozzles started blowing cool air. I could feel swine flu landing all over my face.

Just before take-off, one of the flight attendants (the woman with long blond hair and a little monkey face) stormed down the aisle yelling “Turn that computer off!” and “Hey, bring that seat up!” Seriously?

Stef and I were not sitting together on the full flight, but just after takeoff, I asked two of the crewmembers who were having some sort of conversation if I could change seats with another passenger so that I could get two seats together. They looked at me as if to say “You think I give a shit?” In the end, I managed to charm a gnarly toothed but very friendly Irish gentleman sitting in the last row to get two seats together. So that’s where we are now. Stef had some ear issues and was squirming around in her seat when we took off, but she seems to be relaxing at the moment.

There are downsides to these seats. I am arm’s reach from a toilet emanating so much cleanser stench that I’d rather it was just filled with shit. And I get knocked silly any time one of the loud, pushy, and borderline rude crew members turns from the service area and walks by. One of these women has thighs like Serena Williams and the forward momentum of a schoolbus filled with overweight children. There is no stopping her.

Shortly after takeoff, dinner was served. Can someone explain to me how airport security, when they are doing their job, will strip you of any metal, plastic, wooden, cardboard, or cloth item which may be used as a weapon on board, but dinner is served with a shiny metal steak knife? My dinner of chicken and rice was decent.

Continental Airlines Roll

After the meal, Stef collected all of our garbage on one tray to make their job easier. “You’re not doing us any favors by stacking the trays,” the guy sneered as he fumbled to get our tray into the slot on his little cart.

He came back a few minutes later for tea and coffee, asking the German guy who had the window seat what he wanted.


“I don’t know what that means. Do you want it black or with milk or cream?”

Seriously? The German guy seemed to take it in stride, but I was borderline offended with the guy’s rudeness. Afterwards, with the lights dimmed, the crew happily clattered coffeepots, slapped trays around, and spoke in their OUTSIDE voices in the service area behind us when it was obvious that most of the people on the plane were trying to get some sleep.

What is with this crew? Did Continental Airlines recently slash their pay? Overall, this rude, conspiring crew is the worst I’ve ever had on an international flight. Perhaps this is why the tickets were only $400?

And I’m convinced that it’s impossible for even a normal-sized person to find a comfortable sleeping position in a middle or aisle coach seat. You’re too upright in your chair, so your head teeters around a bit while you are on the brink of consciousness before decisively falling in one direction and jarring you back into the reality that you are sitting in an uncomfortable coach seat. (And I have tried those little U-shaped flight pillows. Don’t work.) You can’t fold your arms and lean forward because the woman in front of you will inevitably plop down in her chair like a 600 lb. gorilla, kicking her seat back and turning you into a C2 quadriplegic (just learned THAT lesson a few minutes ago). And you can’t lean one INCH into the aisle because the crew will come through like a herd of elephants and take off whatever bit of shoulder you leave exposed. In the six hour duration of this flight, I’ve gotten about fifteen minutes of solid sleep. Stef has her head down next to me, but I think she’s faking it.

I hear the bustle of crewmembers and smell hot garbage, so it must be time for breakfast.

    2 Responses to “And We’re Off!”

  1. Melissa Says:

    You are hilarious in addition to being an incredibly skilled photographer. I stumbled on your blog while looking for pics of Cesky Krumlov, but now I can’t stop looking at your other posts. Thanks for all the details; I think you’ve made several itineraries for me!

  2. Jeff Says:

    Thanks for the note! Appreciate it! 🙂

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