It was a terrific day at the Business Innovation Factory conference on Monday - a lot learned and good things to tell you about it, just not today. Here's why.
By the time Crabby Old Lady got home from Providence, Rhode Island on Tuesday night, she had been en route for 14 hours. Count them: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14.
If you think all those numbers are painful to read, try living them.
It wasn't supposed to be that way. According to Crabby's itinerary, the trip should have been (snark alert) only 10 hours and 50 minutes. Bad enough but Crabby was mentally prepared for them. Those unexpected three hours, however, left Crabby ragged and frayed and worn down for the next two days.
When did air travel become wholesale torture?
Changed flights, delayed flights, miles of corridors to and from gates – “oops, lady, somebody gave you the wrong gate number” - lines for boarding, lines for the lavatory, no food for 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-13-14 hours.
It is doubtful that any of this is news to you but somebody needs to bitch instead of meekly accepting the abuse (abuse that we actually pay for in real dollars) and Crabby Old Lady is good at that.
When Crabby checked her flight curbside at the Providence airport, the agent wrote down her gate number and made a joke about the ten mile hike she was in for.
Crabby told him that at her age that isn't a joke. He told her to order a wheelchair next time - “people who don't need them do it all the time,” he said.
Crabby was appalled that such cheating is not only tolerated but encouraged by the airline staff. Whatever happened to those six-person people-mover carts that once patrolled airport corridors? There were none in any of the four airports Crabby passed through on Tuesday.
Fortunately for Crabby, she knows how to pack lightly and together with her recent, 30-pound weight loss, the long treks were much easier than the last time she traveled by plane two years ago.
Then there was the food issue. Knowing there would be nothing but tiny packets of stale pretzels and/or past-their-use-by-date peanuts on board, Crabby looked for carry-on food stalls along the corridors.
The choices are awful. Wraps and sandwiches filled with dubious kinds of meat and cheese, hundreds of sugar- and fat-laden pastries, sodium-laced chips in a zillion chemically-made flavors and candy bars – candy bars lined up into an infinite distance.
It's 3,000 calories per item or starvation. No other choices.
At last, in the corner of a refrigerator case, Crabby found a few eight-ounce cups of fresh fruit – grapes, cut up melon and pineapple, sliced apples, etc. She bought two. Ahem - at $6 each.
She didn't discover until she was in flight that they must have been left over from a day or two earlier – rubbery, dried out and sour tasting. Crabby ditched them in the flight attendant's trash bag.
Now here's a tip for air travel that may be as new to you as it is to Crabby: never worry about missing a connecting flight again.
Crabby discovered on this trip that nowadays airlines are so allergic to having even one empty seat, they hold planes way past take-off time when expected connecting flights are arriving late.
Then, of course, the transfer passengers must walk those ten miles to their next plane. That would be yours - the one you've already been sitting in with no fresh air for 45 minutes while the guy crammed into the seat next to you has used up six packets of Kleenex loudly blowing his nose non-stop which he will continue to do for the entire two-hour flight.
That really happened to Crabby. Isn't there a law against flying with a cold – or at least an advisory not to do so?
Crabby might have felt sorry for him traveling in his sick misery but he shouldn't have been spreading his germs all over a packed plane, so she doesn't.
On these flights – there were three – Crabby chose window seats so she would have a wall to lean against to help her sleep part of the way. But that poses a problem if you fail to correctly balance water intake to prevent dehydration against the need to pee.
To her chagrin, Crabby flunked this basic travel skill forcing her two seatmates into the aisle three times on the longest leg of her flight while Crabby crawled out of the row. The third time, they both looked exasperated and who could blame them.
All this is in addition to what Crabby, in her on-board boredom, calculated to be a miniscule 27 cubic feet of personal space allotted each passenger with, unless you need to pee, zero opportunity to stretch your legs for hours and hours and hours.
What Crabby doesn't understand is why we go along with this torture like sheep. In fact, flying reminds Crabby of some other animals humans slaughter - all those corporate-raised pigs and chickens crammed together in their pens with no space to turn around.
How is plane travel these days any different?