Friday, October 15, 2010

Regional Jet Flight of Terror

I knew it was going to be bad.  I could sense it our last night in Texas.  My anxieties grew strong and my nerves were already escalating.  I checked us in online, because that's just what you're supposed to do, only my boarding passes wouldn't print.  Kyle's did.  Mine didn't.  I tried three times to no avail and regrettably called the airline for help. 

The automated robot man instructed me to say my confirmation number.  This was terribly unfortunate as my confirmation number included the sound-alike combination of BCZVE and an M.  I tried my best to enunciate but it only seemed to make it worse. 
"Did you say, '3PRGMS?'"  He would respond.
"No, I most certainly did not!"  And I would growl some terrible growl of frustration which is my angry trademark.

Eventually I got to speak to a human, which was really no better because I couldn't understand her at all. I guess it was only fair because she didn't have a clue what I was asking and after seven minutes of circular confusion, she offered to transfer me again.  I hung up and growled my terrible growl of angry frustration.  And then I cried. 

I hate flying.  I hate getting to the airport, I hate going through security, I hate packing my carry on bag just so only to avoid the ridiculous checked-baggage fees.  I hate being unstably perched between heaven and earth, 35,000 miles in the air.  I also hate airport food.  And, while I'm at it, airport bathrooms.

The end result of all this boarding pass frustration was that I had to check myself in at the airport only to find at security that I had been flagged for "special screening."  I got escorted through security by a really rather friendly TSA agent (officer?), placed in a "corral" (I mean, this is Texas after all), patted down, and tested for all kinds of whatever it is that they test for.  It was all very dehumanizing.  Luckily, I passed.

And then began the regional jet flight of terror.  We sat in the very back of the tiny plane and were ruthlessly tossed about for the whole flight.  I somehow convinced myself I was going to die.  I imagined falling out of the sky, recalling every movie and TV plane crash I'd ever seen in my life.  (I should really not ever watch those)  I blistered my hand from gripping the chair so tight.  I cried.  I prayed.  Nothing could console me.

Kyle patiently held my sweaty hand and patted my arm every few minutes to tell me it was going to be okay.  He later informed me that I was apparently the only person freaking out.  Even the little children had been happily playing or fast asleep.  In my mind, however, the whole thing played out very differently.  But have I mentioned before how I do not like to fly?

The terrible irony of it all is that for as much as I despise the experience, I have been on precisely four trips in the last ten months that required air travel.  And, as I write this, I am making plans for yet another trip to Denver in January.  *sigh*  You would think that after all the planes I've been on in my life, it would somehow get easier.  Not so.

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