Flying on an Airplane Really Sucks

Listen, obviously we’d be nowhere in human achievement if air travel wasn’t invented and used in its capacity today. Life as we know it happens as quickly and efficiently as it does because of air travel. 

I just think that sometimes flying on an airplane can be a really fucking awful experience. 

Now, I know I can’t just cut flying out of my life entirely and drive everywhere I want to be. That wouldn’t make any timely sense and just wipe out a plethora of possible travel destinations. 

I can’t drive to places like Hawaii or Paris; they are really far away.

But hear me out, the system of flying is not a glamorous one. It’s an entire process of shit. For starters, just getting to the airport is always a pain in the ass. The closer to the airport you get, the more reckless dickhead drivers you encounter. That drop-off zone feels like storming Omaha Beach from Saving Private Ryan. Common decency is a lost concept in this territory. There’s always cars zippin in and out of spots, guiltlessly cutting off one another in the primitive pursuit of catching a flight. I once heard a guy yell to another guy who cut him off, “I hope you die, asshole!”

I just wanted to go to San Diego without hearing someone else get a verbal death threat. I mean Jesus Christ, I was nine. 

All of the primordial survival instincts come out in the dropoff zone simply because paying for airport parking is like writing another college-tuition-sized check.

Then there’s airport security. This has to be one of the more inherently stressful situations in all of society. Let me break this down simply: You fill these indestructible plastic containers full of all of your personal items (almost always these items are highly valuable) and you completely scatter them across a conveyor belt, all while the Transportation Security Administration pats you down and screens your items using X-ray vision them to make sure that you are not a terrorist… and you go through of all of this without shoes on.

I tell you what, the real terrorists are the ones who fly wearing flip flops, because they walk through security barefoot. The airport floors have seen every viral disease in the history of the planet, including some that we thought were long extinct. Even way after we cure the coronavirus, there’s still gonna be a splash of covid just marinating on some spot of the floor right next to a region of aged-polio. 

The worst part about all of this is… we haven’t even got on the plane yet. As you board the plane, you get a notice from your bank saying that you now have to sell your house just so that you can pay off the debt from the post-security airport sandwich and Dasani water bottle you just bought. 

“Just the water bottle for you sir? With tax, your total comes out to be $16.95.”

I can’t make this shit up. Seriously, a simple lunch meal for one person can reach heights close to 35 bucks! Makes you feel like you’re eating at the Ritz-Carlton.

But the underlying truth behind all of this nonsense is the fact that people show you who they really are inside of an airplane.

And some people are dark.

If someone’s gotta fart, they’re gonna let it rip. Rather than using all auxiliary power they have in their body to make it to the bathroom before detonation, they use all the remaining energy to make sure it’s silent. Everyone else on the plane suffers, but the menace remains a mystery, possibly lurking to strike again.

Some people also haven’t invested in headphones yet, it’s incredible. I don’t know if they think that we can’t hear what’s on their screen or its some twisted sense of philanthropy, where they think that their entertainment is also our entertainment; but whatever the fuck it is, some people just play their device’s content on FULL BLAST.

On my most recent flight, I couldn’t even watch my show through my noise cancelers without hearing the guy next to just rinse through The Sopranos. I respect his taste, I really do, but I shouldn’t be startled by a “Fuggedaboutit!” at full blast every eight minutes. 

It might also just be my shit luck with air travel, that could also contribute to my passionate hate of the industry. Whenever I fly out to college in Indiana, I always have to take two flights from Oakland. So all I’m really doing is broadening the opportunity for a shitty flight experience.

I don’t think I’ve ever walked off the plane and said, “Gosh, I can’t wait for my next flight.” 

On the way to the airport, it’s like I spin the wheel of fortune in the back seat, except my only options are having the wheel land on different types of shitty situations one would hope to avoid during air travel. My favorite is when the wheel lands on me sitting in front of someone with ADD, those bastards love to kick. Another good one is sitting next to a mother of twins.

That was a great flight. They really just cried for the whole flight. I think it stopped annoying me by about hour three, as I wasn’t even mad anymore, I was just impressed.  

Sure, sometimes my actual flight will be fine, but that’s only after my connection in Phoenix, God Forbid, was delayed five hours. 

Or perhaps my wheel lands on the drug dog giving me a one-second-longer-sniff-than-usual and then an entire bag search/removal from flight immediately follows (true story). I didn’t have any drugs on me, the poor drug dog probably smelled the scent of my own dog on me and just wanted a five second break from sniffing narcotics all weekend. I mean christ, he’s just a dog. 

How about needing to go to the bathroom and you out find that it’s occupied. Oh boy. This is always a gamble. Do you wait right outside the door, that way no one can snake your spot in line? Or do you go back to your seat and wait for the potential “crime scene” to simmer down before you walk in there? I mean, more times than not, I end up waiting in line and walking in right after someone. I always seem to follow someone who just gave birth to a small child, where the toilet will still be vibrating from their last flush. 

Sometimes my shit luck on flights is plain humorous, like you couldn’t write it any better in a story. 

Rather than watch two or three movies, I always download 5 or 6 episodes of a gritty show I watch and I save them for plane flights. Netflix has a way of bending time, and this strategy helps make long flights feel quicker. Netflix also loves their sex scenes nowadays. 

It’s always when the peanut lady comes my way that I’m right in the middle of watching some crazy sex scene. And these scenes are passionate, just boobies and skin all over the place. She’ll be there waving the peanut sack for 10 seconds before I finally notice her and tell her, “No thank you.” 

The sad part is that the sex scene she happened to watch over my shoulder only made up 0.02% of the content of the episode. Perhaps she saw the only one of the whole series. Regardless, she probably informed the crew that I was watching porn on a federally licensed plane, and now the air marshal is onto me. 

Whether it’s my shit luck or the true shitty nature of flying all together, I’m not a huge fan of flying by any means. But will I continue to fly whenever it makes a long drive shorter? 

Of course.

Do I knowingly buy my flight ticket with the assumption that it will likely be a below average travel experience. 

Oh, absolutely.

And no matter how much my blood boils from the anger and disappointment that always comes from some semen-seasoned sector in the shit process of flying, is there anything I can really do about it?

Hahahahahah, go sit your ass back in your seat, sir.

So who really won. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s the game of life. Whether we like it or not, we’re just a simple cogs in the big machine. And this machine flies.

Written by Henry Marken

I lost my pinky finger at age 4, but then found it again at a soup kitchen when I was 15. Survivor of a wild turkey attack (2008). I went to the University of Phoenix before it was cool to do college online. Currently in a lawsuit with Crayola after a devastating purple crayon incident.

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