Elbow Room

  • Posted: 8/27/11
  • Category: Travel

Kennedy, La Guardia and Newark airports are closed this morning and, elsewhere, it looks like travellers have rescheduled. As a result, the Huntsville Alabama airport is almost empty. The TSA was almost pleasant and didn’t insist on their morning grope.

With luck, I might have an empty seat next to me on the first flight (to DFW) or, dare I risk the thought, two empties? On both flights??

Be still my hopeful heart!

Remember when they served hot meals? And didn’t swipe your credit card in flight? And if you have a long memory, remember those free cigarette samples, glass glasses and metal forks, knives and spoons?

And a very long time ago, when I was probably much too young to do so, my MD father must’ve flashed his JAMA card or emergency tracheotomy kit complete with scalpel and hollow tube in its autoclaved, stainless steel carrier - just in case the pilot was choking on a chicken bone somewhere over Kansas - because I got “upgraded” to the jump seat on a commercial flight we were on and I, the kid, got to push the button and shove the lever that put the landing gear down. Talk about cool!

But like all memories, they’re no more than that now. There are no free cigarettes today - I quit decades ago, anyway. And knives are gone and most meals are fingerware so forks and spoons are pretty much gone, too. And I let someone else put the landing gear down now.

You can still get your genetic mutation-causing stimulation, however. The TSA now offers the occasional back-scatter radiation to selected grandmothers, small children and Libertarian-looking business travellers. No charge.

“Hands over your head.”

I always then expect, “Turn your head to the left and cough.”

Update: Empty rows all the way home. Now that was nice!


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