My new hero

Out to the west coast for a family gathering, truncated by bad weather and cancelled flights, but it's always a joy to be with the Teensiest Gluttons, and not even the inexplicable nasties of the American Airlines personnel at JFK on the flight out can dampen spirits all that much.

Here's what happened: we had reserved exit row seats, our flight was cancelled, American emailed the passengers on the cancelled flight, inviting all to rebook at no extra charge, and so we did, booking - again - exit row seats. Because of the dubious weather, we were at the gate almost an hour early. The flight was oversold, but in today's economy, I won't take the chance of being stuck with a travel voucher. We sat still and waited. Finally, the flight boarded, and we were having our boarding passes scanned at the gate when the gate agent told us that our seats had been reassigned, and proffered new boarding passes, which were not for exit row seats. Since we typically fly steerage, the extra inch-and-a-half of an exit row means something, and we asked how and when this change had occurred. The gate agent, in a principal's secretary voice, explained that she couldn't tell us. We stood still, the line behind us, and said we were at the very least, entitled to an explanation. It seems there was a (hushed voice) notation on our record, but she could not tell us who put a notation on our reservation, when this happened, and why. We asked for a supervisor. Gate nazi said that the plane would be in the air by the time she could reach a supervisor. We asked why we were only learning of the change now. Gate nazi claimed to have paged us. We pointed out that we had seen her arrive and open the position, and there had been no page. She claimed that the new seats were just as comfortable as the exit row seats. This was probably the most glaring untruth of the day - Himself was in a center seat between 2 overweight caucasian sumo wrestlers. I was seated in a "bulkhead window seat;" when seated, I had three inches of headroom, and no space to store my in-flight necessaries bag. Yes, I measured the headroom, I always travel with a bunch of gadgets. To leave the seat, I was required to participate in a threesome with some very unhappy strangers.

OK, enough. Suffice it to say that my new hero is Gérard Dépardieu. He understands.

Update: yes, I know about the latest Dépardieu incident, that's why I admire him, and were I similarly equipped I might have done the same.

Second update: we are now home and I wish to report that I forgot to take out my iPad when we went through security on the return trip and NO BELLS RANG AND I WAS NOT STOPPED!This at the same airport where a tube of mascara (Trish McEvoy) was confiscated from me because "it could be dangerous." Yes, I'm a real threat when I can blink with emphasis.


  1. Oh yes he does!
    How hideous, why does air travel have to be so awful?
    Hope all is well now and that you are somewhere nice. And if Gerard is there all the better.

  2. Hi, Dani, yes, it seems each flight has a questionable feature, on the other hand, on the return flight (today) I zipped through security without remembering to take my phone and iPad out of my bag, and no one noticed. At the same airport a year ago a security guard called everything to a halt to make sure that I added my mascara to the little plastic bag! She warned me that if it didn't fit in the bag it would be confiscated. Yes, I'm dangerous when I bat my eyes at airline personnel.

  3. I hate flying. They (the airlines, the TSA and the other people) make it absolutely miserable. what I wouldn't give for fractional jet ownership....

    Sometimes I miss your irony, WFF - was this one of those times? Gerard instigated a recent flight -ahem- situation himself:

  4. Traveling used to be so glamorous and now I count myself lucky if I can make it without losing too much of my dignity and time due to unplanned delays. Ha! A threesome with unhappy strangers ranks with the best of the lowlights!

    BTW, I finally properly thanked you for the Liebster Award on my blog. :)

  5. It's so infuriating, isn't it? Some of the most accomplished liars I've ever met have been airline employees.

  6. Hello:
    Oh dear, we can totally sympathise with you. Why does it have to be like this when just a modicum of civility costs nothing? It is always so infuriating when one has thought ahead and organised things to have one's plans shattered in an instant by a person for whom it is 'more than their job's worth' to help!!

    We hope, however, that your aeroplane jetted you off to somewhere wonderful.

  7. We recently flew AA and it was not pleasant. They take delight in treating passengers as self-loading freight and we won't be making the same choice again. Isn't there an extra charge for an exit-row seat? I loathe the bulkhead as well, I must have contact with my little carry-on at all times.

  8. Hi, mommydearest, no, Gérard's "comment" was exactly what I was thinking of. I thought he expressed the situation perfectly. In fact, compared to Gérard, Alec Baldwin is a wimp.

  9. Hi, Tiffany Rose, yes, the poor fellow in the center seat had to apologize each time he turned a page of hisn(very small) paperback book. Fortunately none of us was in the mood to strike up an acquaintance.

  10. Hi, Sulky Kitten, it just occurred to me that I know quite a few peopl with "clipped wings" whose second career is selling real estate. Hmm, what do we learn from this?

  11. Hi, Jane and Lance - civility? I think I remember what that was, but the memory is dim.

  12. Hi, xoxo, I recommend trying to get exit row seats if you can, there's more leg room, generally more head room, and more breathing room. Also the people who are seated there are supposed to be able to "assist" the personnel in case of emergency. Sometime I've looked at the nursing mothers, gasping patients, and guys in neck braces who've snagged the exit rows and wondered about the "assist" part, but I generally find it's a plus. Warning: sometimes the exit row is also a bulkhead, not as good as plain exit row. Check the seating chart before you click OK. Charges: vary from airline to airline. We fly AA a lot, so we are supposed to get "premium" privileges. Hah. I can really understand M. Dépardieu. There's a famous character/hero in German lit/history whose name has become synonomous with a certain definite response... Unfortunately that was before the airplane. Too bad.,

  13. I have had a few horrific flying of the worst was being stuck behind a man on a transatlantic flight who felt entitled to recline his seat fully into my lap.
    He didn't seem at all bothered when I leaned forward and whispered in his ear, "If you want first class comforts then pay for them." And I even may have called him a not so nice name. While it is unlike my character to do so, that little vindication felt lovely!
    Poor dears...tell me at least you avoided the full body scan!

  14. Hi, Eleanor, I too fight back against the over-entitled male traveler, they're the same guys who take up 3 seats on the subway so they can spread their legs and air out their hoo-hahs.

    In the air, in the circumstances you describe, I called the flight attendant and loudly explained that I was feeling airsick and could she bring me extra bags to deal with my PROJECTILE VOMITING.

    Another time thanks to well-timed turbulence I had an excuse for spilling tea all over the offender. Oh, dear, oh, dear.

    Hmm sounds like altitude makes me belligerent? No, only when really provoked.


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