Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Leavin' on a Jet Plane...

The Facts

We went to Idaho on a family vacation.

His Side

If you like traveling, you’re crazy. What I mean by “traveling” is the actual act of getting from one place to another. I love going and seeing other places that I’ve never seen, but getting to those places is awful. I can’t even choose a preferred method of travel because they are all terrible. Planes are quicker but very uncomfortable and way too expensive. Driving is cramped and takes forever but is cheaper and you can set your own pace. I think if I had to choose a preferred method of travel, I’d pick boat. I have only travelled by boat once and I had no complaints. Unfortunately that isn’t a feasible option most of the time. And, when you’re traveling almost 2500 miles, driving isn’t really feasible either. So, when Kristi and I were heading out to Idaho for our latest vacation, we were forced to fly.

In order to get the cheapest flights possible, we ended up with a three leg journey to and from Boise, ID. We also ended up with lengthy layovers (3 hours in Dallas and almost 4 in Seattle). Why we went to Seattle while en route to Boise is beyond me. They should’ve just given us parachutes and we could’ve jumped out as we passed over Boise… we have always wanted to skydive, so we could’ve killed two birds with one stone. The layovers weren’t as bad as I thought they’d be but the whole day of traveling took its toll. Fortunately, the third and final leg of the trip (Seattle to Boise) was the best leg; so we ended on a positive note. It was with Alaskan Air (which doesn’t only offer service to and from Alaska… weird). The flight attendants were very nice, there was a good bit of space (but we all know that’s relative when it comes to planes), and they actually offer a small snack like every airline used to back in the day. It’s just a little pack of pretzels but it’s the little things that count. Not only were we finally not going to be in a plane anymore, but the Boise airport has Police Trainer (the greatest arcade game ever which is also practically impossible to find anywhere) in a game room near baggage claim. I'm checking a bag every time I head to Boise!

Everyone knows the worst part of air travel is the other people you must share a plane with. Everyone dreads being stuck next to a large person who takes all of their seat and part of yours, the armrest hog who never lets you use the shared armrest, or the smelly person who doesn’t think it’s important to wear deodorant on a travel day. Luckily we didn’t have to experience the first two, but we did encounter some interesting smells. One guy passed gas about three times on the plane and it wasn’t pretty. I needed a gas mask. That’s not cool when you’re on a crowded plane… wait until you’re outside or something! And, while in the airport, a woman sat next to us in the terminal that smelled strongly of urine. It’s not like a dog peed a little on her leg… it’s like she bathed in it. It was rough. I’m not sure how she didn’t notice because everyone around her did. Luckily she wasn’t on our flight. We did get a nice view of Mt. Rainier poking up through the clouds, though so that almost made up for the noxious gasses we had to endure.

All of those unfortunate odorous incidents occurred on our trip to Boise. The trip back was reasonably uneventful in the annoying passenger department, but it was an even rougher set of flights. We left at 9:00pm on Saturday and arrived home at 11:15am Sunday. That’s especially rough when you have to change planes multiple times. If it was a direct flight, I could just doze the whole time and arrive home sort of fully rested. Needless to say we were exhausted when we got home. The rest of Sunday was spent with Kristi lying on the couch while I kicked back in the recliner and we fell asleep while watching TV and hoping Fletcher would stay calm. 

Traveling is rough but the places you get to see make it all worth it. And, when flying with your best friend, it becomes so much more bearable and… dare I say… even enjoyable.

Her Side

When traveling on a budget, sometimes you’ll have to make concessions… and that’s just what we had to do. No, I’m not talking about flying coach instead of first class or boarding in group 1 instead of priority access. I’m talking about having LONG travel days, 3 stops to your final destination, and even a little flying overnight. Since we are relatively young (although some days I think we are already to the old married couple category) we decided to opt for this method of traveling. We would do (almost) anything to save a few bucks!

So, we set out to travel west at the ridiculously early time of 4:30am. No, our plane wasn’t leaving at this hour, but I’m a stickler for getting to the airport in plenty of time to go through security and not have to run to your gate… even at the airport in Columbia… that I’m pretty sure no one ever goes to. That means we spent a good 45 minutes sitting around and waiting before we could even dream of getting on the small puddle jumper of a plane that would take us to Dallas. From this point on, the travel day only got more interesting.

Once in Dallas, we realized that the airport is HUGE (as in the airplane taxied OVER a freeway… that’s ridiculous), and that in order to make our way around this huge airport we would have to navigate the cavernous halls to get to a shuttle to then take us to the appropriate terminal if we had any hope of getting to our plane on time. Once seated on the plane to Seattle, we realized a few things. First, someone sitting in close proximity clearly didn’t believe in bathing and presumably that same person felt that passing gas was no big deal. Now, this was no ordinary gas… it was the kind that permeated everything and seemed to suck the oxygen out of the already thinning air. That kind soul let out gas not once, but approximately three times. Something to note here would be some airplane etiquette (not many people have it). If you feel the need to let out some gas, I understand, it’s a natural thing, but beware (especially in a vessel that is enclosed at 37,000 feet in the air). If it smells the first time, please hold it in or kindly walk to the back of the plane where the flight attendants have pointed out the lavatories.

After dealing with that stench the entire ride from Dallas to Seattle, I thought we were in the clear. We were not. While we experienced quite a few things in this airport, the most noteworthy was the woman who smelled as if she had bathed in urine. No, I’m not exaggerating… that’s exactly what it smelled like. She sat down next to me and I immediately gagged, as that’s not a pleasant smell to have wafting in your general direction. Now, I don’t know if she was afraid to fly and let a little leak out or if she had a legitimate problem with holding her bladder; but, in either case, she needed to get that in check. The final straw for me was when she got up to... surprise, surprise… go to the bathroom. There was a little puddle of liquid left on the seat. Now, I didn’t get close enough to see if my theory was correct but, based on all context clues, I was right on the money.

In case you were wondering, she did not end up on our flight.  Thank goodness.

Our trip home to Columbia was much less eventful. The only thing noteworthy is the fact that we flew red eye from Seattle to Dallas (something I wasn’t too fond of). I tend to like a window seat. Perhaps it’s because I like the scenery, but more likely it’s because I want to be abreast of what’s going on. If I see ground coming closer to me at a fast pace… we’re going down. If I see water below us, then I know to be on edge until dry land has appears. Basically, I just want to be aware… and I’m a little weird about it. However, unlike on our honeymoon, we were granted the privilege to sit next to each other on each leg of the flight, which was glorious. Nolan sure does make a great pillow!

Once we made it back to Columbia, the oppressive heat and humidity hit me like a brick wall. Home sweet home.

When traveling, I’ve found it’s best to do it with someone you can tolerate and, better yet, someone you actually like to be around. So, I’d say Nolan is a pretty good traveling partner, after all!

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