Tag Archives: Flying

Things that go bump on the flight

There are lots of strange noises, bumps and sounds that happen before, during and after a flight.  Some of them may be very frightening ….

….. but often they are quite normal.   A very useful article put out by Travelers United lists some of these noises and the explanation for them which might calm some fears. For the full article go to Scary noises on planes)

Are you scared of flying?  Don’t worry – you are not alone.  Some very famous people have experienced this fear – people like Ronald Reagan.  Can you imagine being President of the United States and being scared of flying.  That’s a fear he had to overcome.
Ronald Reagan grew fearful after a rough flight in California in 1937 and for nearly 30 years he criss-crossed the US by train. As a politician he had no choice but to deal with his fear. Once a fellow passenger congratulated him on beating the phobia, to which he replied: “Overcome it? Hell! I’m holding this plane up in the air by sheer willpower.” (courtesy Conor Pope of the Irish Times).

Even Marge Simpson had her problems.  The whole issue of fear of flying was covered in an episode of the Simpsons which received some of the highest ratings – obviously a lot of people wanted to see how Marge coped with her phobia.

  

Marge did the right thing – she educated herself and analysed what her fears were –
Image result for marge simpson fear of flying

Of course there are other fears you might experience on a flight – such as the fear of sitting next to a stranger.  I am not sure if this particular fear has a name but I know for sure my husband suffers from this.

Steve Martin and John Candy in "Planes, Trains and Automobiles"

Travel agents always laugh about making bookings for family members as they turn out to be the most high maintenance clients out there.

Every flight we take is a process…. first we identify the flight, we check the type of plane then we go to the seat map.  Before we even put the flight on hold we have to check how many and which seats are available.  The absolute best is a case when it is the two seats on the side.  Then he can safely sit next to me on the aisle seat because God forbid he should be trapped in a window seat even by his own wife.  Never mind about me being trapped

As well as a fear of sitting next to strangers he also has a background of flying experience having flown gliders in South Africa competitively.  This makes him a delightful travelling companion.  Every thrust of the engines, tilt of the wings or flare before landing produces either a complimentary grunt or a disgusted shake of his head.  Yes he mentally flies the plane the whole way …. and gives me (his dear wife) regular updates on altitude and speed. His very best flight EVER was when he was able to hear air traffic control through the headphones.  That was HUGE …. as Mr Trump would say.

 

 

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Bums in seats

It’s the airline mantra – just get bums in those seats and at least we are not flying at a loss.  But how do the bums feel about this?  Are they comfortable, squashed, numb, fidgety?  It’s all about the seats and that thing they call “pitch”.
(Distance between the back end of a seat and the front end of the seat behind it. Also called leg room. – courtesy of The Business Dictionary).seat-pitch-300x223

You won’t easily find this information on airline websites – and if you do please let me know because I looked in vain.  That’s why I think Seat Guru is the neatest web site out there and I always consult it when I fly.  www.seatguru.com has a list of just about every airline with all of their aircraft and display full seat maps with comments on each seat as to whether it is good, bad or horrible.  They have even made it easy by colour coding the seat map.  You can also read up some more about seat pitch in this excellent article by David Parker Brown at http://www.airlinereporter.com/2010/04/comparing-airline-seat-pitches-who-has-the-worst/

So it is no surprise that when airlines “cram ’em in” people get cranky, flight attendants get frustrated and bums get just plain fed up.  Would it really make such a difference in the bottom line or the profit margin to airlines if they gave just a couple of inches more leg room?

More airlines are offering Economy Premium or Economy Plus options which are available for an additional cost.  And you know what?  People are prepared to pay.  Well not all people.  On a recent KLM flight I had paid the additional fee to upgrade to Premium Economy – $200 per segment for a couple of inches but worth it on a long flight.  After take off some cheeky fellow sauntered up to the Premium Economy area and made himself comfortable in one of the unoccupied seats.  I could feel every paying passenger around me literally bristle at this audacity.  But never fear – the Dutch were on it!

“Excuse me, sir.  Can I see your boarding pass?  I am sorry sir.  Your boarding pass is for the economy seats.  This is premium economy.  Please return to your allocated seat.”

“Well there’s no-one sitting in this seat.  I can’t see why I can’t just sit here.  It’s really crowded back there.”

“I am sorry sir.  These seats are reserved for passengers who have paid an additional fee for them.  Please would you return to your allocated seat.”

“Well it’s very cramped there and I don’t see why I should spend the whole flight in discomfort when there is a perfectly good seat here.”

“You are most welcome to pay the additional fee for the economy premium seat sir.  I can process that to your credit card.”  (YES!!!)

“No thanks.  I have never had such bad service in my life.  I will NEVER fly KLM again.”  (Good riddance).

 

 

How to select your seat on KLM

KLM has come up with a doozie …. when you select your seat you can do it online with Facebook so that you can check out your fellow passengers and see who you might like to sit next to.  What?  Are you kidding me?  If I am travelling alone the only person I want to speak to is the flight attendant.  I don’t want to become BFF with the person sitting  next to me – yes that very same person who stole the arm rest and snored all night.  I also don’t want to exchange chit chat with someone who has been creeping through my facebook page and laughing at all those really really stupid moments of my tagged life.

But hang on – there is an upside to this too.  I guess it would help to know in advance who to avoid on a flight.  You could probably tell this by their facebook profile, the films they like, the books they read, the music they listen to, their friends, their political views, their “status”.  Actually this gets worse and worse the more you think about it.  Do we really want or need all this excess and often stupid information.  Facebook started off as a good idea and made Zuckerberg a lot of money  but I dunno.  It’s starting to give me the creeps.