By Bud Smith
Flight 1671 Newark to San Diego
-27 stars ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
“We are pleased to board customers with Priority Access Cloud Travel Achievement Status Points.”
“We are pleased to board customers with picture perfect childhoods.”
*Cues We Are the Champions by Queen* “Welcome aboard first class customers! You truly are the champions!” *Cuts Music*
“We are pleased to board customers traveling today with wheelchairs or baby grand pianos.”
“We are pleased to board VIP Platinum Award Members, giddy on up.”
“We are pleased to board customers with exceptional faces, just the most beautiful faces, oh lord, you don't even need a ticket, god look at you, you sexy creatures, get those angelic faces on our airplane!”
“At this time we are pleased to board customers with Plus Credential Sky Credit Bucks.”
“We are pleased to board customers who have served in the armed forces and are wearing their uniform for some reason, like don't you have a pair of comfortable shorts and a hoodie? This flight is gonna be long as fuuuuuuuuck.”
“We are pleased to board customers who have served as dairy farmers, making fine cheeses, yogurts and decadent ice creams, thank you for your service.”
“We are pleased to board customers with Type A, B, or even C Royal Blood Lines.”
“We are pleased to board customers traveling today with the circus, any circus, thank you for your circus service.”
“We are pleased to board our exceptional customers with Adventure Dream Star Gold Mile Stratosphere Vouchers.”
*a series of lung rattling coughs and mic feedback over the PA system* “Excuse me, alright, at this time we'd like to board ticketed travelers from Group 1.”
(Enter: stewardess, walking from plane, distressed look on face. Stewardess exchanges hushed whisper-argument with airline staff member at podium. Microphone is blocked with palm. Finally airline staff member nods in defeat. Exit: stewardess.)
“Okay, I'm getting word the overhead bins are full ... at this time we'd like to alert all other, all 125 of you or so, that the overhead bins are full we'd be happy to check your carry on for an additional fee or just leave it here at the gate and we'll consider it a spoil of war for the custodial staff.”
“At this time we'd like to welcome aboard customers from groups 2-16, free for all, come on, smash your way into our omnibus, don't be shy. Groups 2-16 you’re up, may god have mercy on your currrrr-sed souls.” *attendant drops mic, walks off*
My favorite part of boarding a plane is the initial walk through first class, the chance to exchange hateful looks with the people sitting in first class as I head towards coach. They seem to enjoy it too. This mutual hate.
When I bought my tickets online, the site had me pick the exact seats my wife and I were going to sit in, but when we got to aisle 22 seats B and C, the row was so narrow that there was no place to put our legs. We couldn't even sit down at all, the legroom was zero inches. The seat, once down touched the back of the seat in Row 21. We were the last people to board the plane and Row 21 was empty so we sat in Row 21 instead of row 22.
The poor stewardess came over, “I'm sorry Rows 1-21 are reserved for Luxury Explorer Upgrades only. It's an additional fee.”
“We already paid for our seats and it's impossible to sit in them.”
The stewardess touched my arm and with tears in her eyes said, “You know what else is impossible today, honey? Making money in the airline industry. This flight alone is losing the airline a small fortune. Every flight we do, we just go farther and farther in the hole.”
“Fuck the world.”
She touched my arm again, “Finally, a customer who gets it. Yes, fuck this world. Fuck this entire sad world and all its tragic inhabitants.”
My wife and I went back to our seats in Row 22, contorted like pretzels, and after a quick safety demonstration, the plane takes off. Real smooth take off tho 💯.
We weren't in the air ten minutes before the public address system goes bing bong.
“Hello, this is your Captain speaking, thank you for flying with me today, it's a pleasure to have you on my awesome jet. We look great all the way to San Diego, clear weather, unlimited visibility, estimated arrival is lickity split, blink and you'll miss it, aces in the hole here we go rock n’ roll ... slight problem though, I've got a few passengers here standing in the cockpit, they're just standing in here like creeps, looming over my shoulder, seems the flight somehow got overbooked and it's at this time that we'd like offer any volunteers the chance to offer up their seat for a travel voucher worth $300 in Adventure Dream Star Gold Mile Stratosphere Vouchers. Any takers will be given a parachute, free of charge and sent on a beautiful jump out of the side of this airplane. I am looking for seventeen volunteers. Get at me.”
I looked around, it felt like half the airplane was empty to begin with. But the empty seats were all upgrade seats that you paid for in addition to your actual ticket and your checked baggage ...
A few minutes later the Captain came back on the PA, “This is your Captain speaking, what up, what up. I’m still looking for those volunteers. We are currently at an altitude of 12,000 feet and climbing. If you're scared of heights, now would be the time to leap out of this jet to get those travel vouchers. 13,000 feet, oh look at this 14,000 feet, come on Sheeple, I still need eleven volunteers … hit me up asap.”
When the jump door opens the noise is deafening and the temperature in the cabin drops to a shivering low. My wife and I flatten ourselves in Row 22 and brace ourselves as the aircraft rumbles through turbulence as overbooked travelers are sent hurling out of the plane, screaming as they hit the black night sky, sucked away in a horrible instance. The jump door closes mechanically, perfectly. Parachutes pop open, we see them out the window. Humans floating down to the soft earth.
An hour into the flight we have a meal service. Ciabatta sandwiches, pretty good. A pack of pretzels with this wonderful honey mustard dipping sauce. For beverage service they have any soda ever made, instant coffee, or water. There's beer for a small fee, $19 for a Pabst Blue Ribbon or $22 for a craft selection, this flight's craft small brew selection is Coors, Taste the Rockies®, man. Cheers. I opened my window shade and there down below us was in fact, the Rockies. I finally got it. I could finally Taste the Rockies®.
I try and find the bathroom but when I walk to the back of the plane the stewardesses are angrily pointing at the fasten seatbelt sign. I say, “I can't even physically sit in my seat anyways. I have to curl up in a fetal position. Where's the bathroom?”
“Sir, there's no bathroom for customers unless they have upgraded to Hero Comfort Award Lavatory Status. You can still upgrade on our app …”
“I'm not paying $72 for wifi and I'm not opening a line of credit with this airline just to take a leak …"
“It's too late now but I recommend flying Business Warrior, the package includes access to the bathroom in first class, access to a seat where you can put your legs in front of you, and flying Business Warrior also unlocks some secret ciabatta sandwiches not on the regular menu.”
“I'll just pee in a bottle. I'll cover myself with my coat.”
“Then we are done talking. Good day to you, sir. Good day.”
“Can you please shut your reading spot light off I'm trying to sleep.”
“Can you please shut your window shade I'm trying to sleep.”
“Well, I'm trying to look out over glorious America.”
“Okay, you've seen enough of America, shut the goddamn window shade!”
*baby starts screaming*
*second baby screams with first baby in a harmonic third*
*third baby screams in perfect harmony with second baby, coming in at a high fifth of the first baby ... it actually sounds wonderful*
The PA bing bongs, “THIS IS YOUR CAPTAIN SPEAKING! DON'T MAKE ME COME BACK THERE!”
“Please can you not recline your seat all the way back, I can't ... breathe.”
*fourth baby comes in with an additional harmonic scream and it's like a barber shop quartet from hell*
“THIS IS YOUR CAPTAIN SPEAKING I'M GOING TO TURN THIS PLANE AROUND IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT? I'll TURN THIS PLANE AROUND!”
Everyone and everything is suddenly quiet and you could have even heard a pin drop if security didn't take all our pins before we got on the plane.
I will say this though, the landing is so gentle that no one on the airplane seems to even notice it. We are not moving any more. We are on the runway. We are getting off this airplane. It’s over.
We’ll be off this airplane soon, just as soon as the first class empties out up front and then the circus workers and the dairy farmers and the soldiers and the Priority Access Cloud Travel Achievement Status Point holders exit, and the Business Warriors and and and …
As we walk past the cockpit, the Captain is standing there and forcefully attempting to french kiss each and every person that tries to leave his jet, but everyone is fighting past him, squirreling their way to freedom!
10 Stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Great place. Great fish tacos. Guacamole everywhere. Lots of sunshine. I can see Mexico if I squint. Palm trees here and there but not like, in your face palm trees, not make ya feel bad about your life decisions palm trees. Would come back here. Recommended. Check it out sometime.
Bud Smith reports from Jersey City, NJ. Twitter: @bud_smith www.budsmithwrites.com. He wrote F250, Calm Face, and Dustbunny City, among others. He works heavy construction, and lives in Jersey City, NJ.