Monday, June 30, 2008

United We Fly


I just got back from an interview in South Dakota. I flew 4 times (with United) to get to and back from there.
A few observations from the flights:

** I don't know if you've heard of the movie United 93. Many people didn't like watching it for different reasons. One thing for sure: do not watch it one day before flying with United.

** The day of my first flight, I was the last to get on the plane, and my seat was 1-A. It was the very first seat right behind the cockpit (no first class). When I entered the plane everybody was looking at me, and I'm sure there were a few people scared to death by seeing this unshaven fat Arab sitting one meter away from the cockpit, carrying 2 large carry-ons and trying hard to squeeze them into whatever space was left above. I start having suspicions in myself.

** Airline companies are doing whatever they can to collect money from people. Now they're charging 15 dollars if you want to check a bag. Not only that, but on some flight they can charge you 15 dollars if you choose to sit beside an empty seat during the flight! WOW!

I remember in 2001, right before 9/11, I flew from Minneapolis to Pittsburgh with Northwest. There were 2 people sitting in the first class, and 3 people me included sitting in economy flying a very large jet. The flying attendants served us meals served only on first class. It was also routine to serve meals on flight longer than 2 hours.
Now they stopped even serving peanuts on flights to save money. We only get soft drinks even on 4-hour flights.

Ok, security? 75% of test-bombs passed through security in a test done last year. 75%! That's even worse than the pre-9/11 era.

** Why on earth does the 2 fattest guys on any flight ALWAYS end up sitting beside each other. Not only that, but that always happens with the smallest planes and the longest flights. I swear to God the big guy next to me and I were almost sitting on each other. It was not a nice scene. The only way we could have fit on those 2 seats was to actually hug each other very tight. I didn't feel comfortable with half my ass hanging from the seat and hitting the tray table and whoever was going to the bathroom.

And what about those very tiny bathrooms in the back of the plane? They are so small that if someone farts in the bathroom a major turbulence will hit the plane.

** All flights are bumpy or very bumpy, I got used to that. But when the bumps are so bad that everyone inside the plane is screaming you know that's too much.

** The pilot on the last flight was a woman. I never had a woman be a pilot of any of my previous flight. I have to admit that for a second I didn't feel comfortable and I didn't like myself for that. I used to think I wasn't prejudiced against woman but it looks like I was wrong. Anyway the pilot was great and the landing was the smoothest I've ever had in my life, the passenger next to me continued to sleep even after the landing (maybe because he was hugging me). I don't know why am I still prejudiced.

** On one of the fights, the couple sitting next to me were deaf. I decided to communicate with them by writing everything the pilot said on a piece of paper. They were very appreciative, and asked me where I was from. I told them "from Jordan". I realized that whenever I do something positive and people ask me where I'm from I respond by saying "Jordan". But if the question followed something negative I respond by "from Arizona".

27 comments:

Maher said...

since my work field has to do with airlines, i can tell you one thing, you have no idea how hard the airline were hit after 9/11!

is it true that some airlines charge money for headphones during the flight?

Hareega said...

yes, 5 dollars for headphones but you can keep the headphones

6 dollars for an alcoholic beverage

and 3-7 dollars for certain snacks

asoom said...

LOOOOOOOOOOOOOL, you're hilarious sometimes!

I still can't get over having to purchase your meal on flights now....and ya rait ishee biswa. Last time I flew starving I bought a turkey sandwich that seemed like was prepared a week ago.

Farah said...

"I'm sure there were a few people scared to death by seeing this unshaven fat Arab... I start having suspicions in myself."

LOOOOOL! 7araaaaam!

Hareega said...

asoom, don't buy meals on the flight, buy it beforehand. And don't you notice that people on flights become so anxious to eat or drink anything while on the floor they'd never think of even eating that small bag of peanuts or pretzel.

farah.. alla bi3een

Hani Obaid said...

You reminded me of this one time where I bought a giant Bugs Bunny, and I took it on the plane as a carry-on. It was a long multi-connection flight, and on each one, the stewardess would look at me suspiciously, and ask what's that, then I would take the rabbit out of the bag by it's ears, and the look would change from suspicion to amusement.

caroline said...

internal american flights r the worst by all accounts.My claustrophobia surges in flying colors at those flights! they r tiny,expensive,full of unpleasant surprises and above all that the staff is not that nice nor cooperative! and the worst thing r the connections and the waiting.... I totally understand ur pain hareega:)

Hareega said...

Hani, you're lucky they didn't open the emergency exit and ask you to leave hehe

caroline, they got worse with time and I don't blame them. They are really running tight on money. American Airlines are now planning on firing 9000 of its employees because of the rise of gas prices.

Sam said...

i never pictured u as a fat guy..now i have to change my image of u when i am reading your blog..arent doctors not supposed to be fat?? u know a role model sorta of thing?? o or were u just exaggerating the fat part..?

Hareega said...

i'd suggest people to look for other role models if they haven't found one in their lives ! i'm as fat as a russian bear.

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