Some people just like to get upset. I still recall a letter to the editor I read a few years back, written by a woman who was much affronted by a local call to the citizenry to conserve water during a drought. Why should she be expected to let her pansies dry out, the good woman wanted to know, when examples of waste were to be seen all over? At the airport, for instance–she went on–where she had recently visited the women’s restroom, equipped with an automatic flush mechanism. “My movements inside the stall triggered multiple flushes,” she huffed. Well, honey. If you have enough movements, you’re going to want those extra flushes.
I suspect even people who are not normally given to upset do get tested at the airport. Tempers flare, babies squall, service is not what we think we deserve. I believe much of the anger is simply a result of unrealistic expectations. If we readjust our outlook to reflect reality, we’d be much the better for it. I have assembled a short guide to familiar airline terms in hopes that the public will benefit:
“Departure.” This refers to the time the jet rolls a few dozen yards out onto the tarmac and parks.
“Full Upright Position.” Same as reclined position.
“Pre-boarding.” This is not the time before people board. This is the time when people board who are not you.
“Place the mask over your mouth and nose and breathe normally.” Don’t worry about it. No one will be expecting you to breathe normally.
“Gate B-2.” Gate C-28. Hope you’ve got your sneakers on.
“Welcome to Phoenix.” She means Welcome to Portland, although, given your personal history of spectacular travel errors, you are to be excused if you tumble into a panic.
“We would like to make your trip as pleasant as possible.” As pleasant as possible is Totally Schnockered In First Class. Back in 27-C, look for peanuts and a blankie.
“Pillow.” This is actually a large sanitary napkin.
“A pleasant stay in Cincinnati, or wherever your final destination is taking you.” I have no idea what this means.
I hope this guide is helpful to the flying public, and would furthermore like to offer a little travel advice to some of my fellow passengers. If you get in the habit of blowing your nose instead of snorking it all back into your face, you won’t have to repeatedly contend with that pile-up in your throat later on. Thank you.