Friday 15 July 2011

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Back to mean Seattle.

Today is that dreaded travel day, the one where you head home.  Well most of the way anyways. We are stopping in Seattle for a couple of nights, so that saves adding a 6 hour drive on after a full day of flying.  Waking up inside the airport is a huge convenience, as we could go down to the counter and get our boarding passes and check our luggage, then go back to the room to gather our carry-on items.  I thought it would give us some time to relax before going through security too, but the Orlando security line isn't the quickest.  In their defense, it's a very busy airport with a lot of families who aren't used to flying, and plenty of kids who are all done standing in line.

I wrote before about booking aisle/window in a row and sliding over to leave the aisle for somebody who thought they were going to be stuck in a middle seat.  Usually the person comes in and double checks their boarding pass, as I'm already sitting in their seat, and most of the time they will ask if I'm in the right place.  I ask if they're OK if I sit with my son and they can have the aisle seat, and I have a very happy seatmate for the flight.  Once in a while though, you get somebody who sees the empty seat and takes it, then immediately puts on headphones or pretends to be asleep so that nobody can tell them they're in the wrong seat.  We had one of those today.  He boarded with his wife, who continued to the back of the plane, sat down and wouldn't look in our direction.  The one time he did turn a little I tried to ask him if he was all right with the aisle seat, he just grunted at me.  So I took great delight when 2 minutes later his wife came up from the back of the plane and told him they were trading seats, sending him back to sit in a middle seat in the back of the plane. 

Coming home means another connection through LAX (and another ride on that shuttle down the runways).  I'm really not a big fan of this airport as it's really run down and dirty, but I think the real reason I don't like it is that instead of making bigger terminals with lots of amenities, they've made a bunch of smaller terminals, some of which are badly under served.  We arrived in terminal 5 which is pretty good, but we had to leave out of terminal 3 which is a tiny little space with only two choices for food.  I'm also betting that the stereotype for expensive airport food came from this airport.  $15 for a five piece sushi roll?

My kids were greatly amused by one thing though.  We got up in Orlando, had breakfast, took a five hour flight, and still made it to Los Angeles before they stopped serving pancakes at McDonalds.  This led to a bunch of discussions about how we could keep flying west and never have to eat anything but McDonalds pancakes again!  I think we may have raised our kids on take-out food a little too much. 

Lastly there's something I don't really understand that airlines are doing these days.  At the beginning of each flight, they're announcing that the overhead bins are for people with roller bags, and that all smaller bags should be stored under the seat in front of you.  This doesn't make any sense to me.  By doing this aren't they just encouraging people to bring larger roller bags instead of smaller carry-ons?  We don't do roller bags because we like to have our stuff under the seat in front of us, where it's easier to get at during flight, but now I'm thinking I should be bringing one so that I can use the overhead bins if I choose.  I haven't measured, but I'm pretty sure that if everybody brought a roller bag, there's no way it would fit.  What I'll probably do though is just put my smaller bags up in the overhead bins, then I'll put on my headphones and pretend to be asleep so that nobody can question me about it.


  1. Im with you... on everything. LAX is a horrible, dirty, expensive, under-served airport, and I dont understand the luggage philosophy of the airlines either, especially in the US. Europe and other international flying still has some sanity remaining, but the US is charging a lot for all checked luggage, encouraging carry-on, causing longer waits in the security line as inexperienced travelers still pack liquids and gels and argue with the security guard over the half finished bottle of Dasani they are drinking.

    The cabins are getting overstuffed with large roller bags, its difficult for people to find room for the luggage. Flight attendants shuffle baggage around or have to put it their own baggage space or up in the 1st class closet. This all causes delays in boarding and late departures.

    I love air travel.

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