The Not-So-Friendly Skies

Had an opportunity to fly this weekend and discovered a few things that seemed to be sacrocentric (can we start using this new non-word? I kind of dig it). Air travel in general is a stressful experience. Between the delays, the security checks, the tight quarters, it can all wear thin on one’s temper. But at what point do people just flat out give up and start being absolute nut jobs? And do they only lose it in the 916?

My wife and I board our plane from Sacramento to Denver. Everything has gone swimmingly so far and I was actually very impressed by the ease in getting to our terminal from the parking lot. However, this ease was quickly worsened when we attempted to find our seats. Now I have to make some assumptions here. That the folks boarding this plane were from the Sacramento area and not making a connecting flight from some other town. I also have to assume that, being a Saturday morning, these folks were not traveling on business and/or were not otherwise anxious to get to where they were going. That is, I was experiencing people at their best.

So we’re boarding the plane and I am carrying an average sized duffle bag. Nothing too impressive that would require checking. During a pause in the action an older man turns to me and says, “If you would just carry your cash in a wallet like normal people you wouldn’t need that bag.” Totally straight faced. No hint of sarcasm or levity. I gave one of those uncomfortable faces like, “good one!”, when I really had no idea what he was talking about. I sit down.

Smooth flight, everything is jake. We land. As we taxi people are starting to shift about and prepare to deboard. What I don’t get and what I think is unique to our fair city is the need for people to stand up and grab their stuff and push forward before the plane has even stopped and the folks in front have exited. You have 150 people just minding their own business for 2 hours and all of a sudden it’s a sprint to the finish line knocking down anyone in your path? And the attitude we got from everyone. You take turns exiting the plane in a single file line. How hard is that? The eye rolling and sighs of frustration were a plenty. And heaven forbid if you should need a moment to grab your luggage from the overhead compartment.

“Fine, go ahead!”

“After you, I guess”

and my favorite with the emphasis on please,

“Please, after you”

I could be making something out of nothing. But on the return flight from Denver, I experienced much the same behavior. I am sure those of you that read this will have experienced similar incidents during travel outside of the River City, but I have to think that unless I was traveling with that gal from Tortillas and her extended family, this was no fluke.

Author: RonTopofIt

RonTopofIt is a complex personality, as are most of the small breed of modern day renaissance millionaires. He wishes more people were like him and yet believes that it takes all kinds. You've met RonTopofIt many times, you just don't remember him.

5 thoughts on “The Not-So-Friendly Skies”

  1. I think the chaotic debarking procedure is more airline-centric than specific to Sacramento. I’ve flown several airlines into and out of Sactown and find that, in general, organized debarking is characteristic of Southwest and the exception with most other airlines (I think the assigned seating gives people a sense of entitlement).

    It may also be because people are usually making connecting flights in Denver and feel a compelling need to get off of one plane so they can wait around in the terminal for another.

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  2. Your experiences are not limited to Sacramento, but they are hardly universal.

    A former job of mine had me in the air at least 3 times a month, and the worst offenders of the behavior you described are those flying into/out of Sacramento, Ft. Lauderdale, San Juan, and Las Vegas. Those going through the major hubs are usually a little more air-travel-savvy.

    I posit the theory that since we have the word “international” in our airport’s name, this creates a false sense of worldliness to travelers from our fine city — that they are indeed the arbiters of air travel etiquette. These, mind you, are the same people who refuse to go downtown because “it’s too confusing with all the numbers and letters.” (Or, they’re the people in the crowd shown on nationally televised Kings’ games & you’re sitting at home groaning, “Great, now the whole country is going to think that’s what we’re all like here.”)

    I further assert that the “typical Sacramento woman” noted in CoolDMZ’s posting about Tortillas is also the same “typical ________ woman” found in many almost-big-cities in the US.” The local breeds might be described as:

    A) The Country Day mom who spends her mornings with her fellow Country Day moms at Peet’s (Lyon Village location), and she is proud to report how much she loves her new BMW wagon but can’t get little Noah to eat his gluten-free muslix.

    B) The early-20’s girl who lives in an apartment off of Howe Avenue, works at TGI Friday’s (still waiting to hear back from Hooters), has the “Daddy bought it but I got it” compact car (wishing for the Mustang) with the glittery Roxy sticker, and thinks that her black strappy tank with “Bebe” in rhinestones is classy & goes great with the chunky striped blonde highlights.

    or

    C) The bleached-blonde East Sac MILF-type who works part-time in the realty field and yaps on her cell phone while straddling both lanes of J Street in her Escalade that’s never seen anything remotely resembling “off road.”

    (Again, these characteristics are hardly limited to Sacramento, so I’m not bashing my fellow females in our fine city.)

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  3. I take the Sacramento to Vegas flight all the time for family reasons (yes, I feel the need to state why) and it is full of the bottom of the barrel travelers. Seriously, I’m more disgusted every time. It is the worst of the lot here that are excited to be going to Vegas.
    And to the previous poster, kudos! Your description of over sisterhood was right on target and hysterical!

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  4. Sounds like every flight on every airline I’ve ever had. Ever. Of course, cynicism was my major in college, so I’m not what you’d call unbiased.

    Runnergirl – that’s good stuff! Those people were on my last plane flight, and the one before that and…

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