Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Flying the airlines.... a few thoughts on things that I don't understand or that irritate me...

So I fly a lot. All over the United States, and, less frequently, internationally. I've met many Oracle types over the years in my travels, and I know that many professionals spend a lot of time on airplanes. Over time, I've come to find certain things annoying. I know there are far greater problems in the world than those annoyances associated with airline travel.... but since I'm on an airplane at 37,000 feet I thought I'd share some of my thoughts here.

1. Some flights have personal TV's on them which I love. I love the moving map, the information about the flight in real-time and so on. Here is what I find is weird. When you sign-onto the personal entertainment device (PED) it asks you your language. Of course I always select English. What irritates me is when the flight status is displayed then in English AND Spanish. I didn't ask for Spanish, why are you giving me Spanish. Is there some weird language where the word English somehow means Spanish? Why do I have to sit and try to interpret a language I don't speak and I selected one that I do speak? Also, I hate that the screen cycles through metric and English measurements. If I select English, default to miles and feet... or give me a choice. I hate seeing the conversions back and forth and back and forth.

2. Seat belts. It seems to be a universal message to certain travelers that when the seat belt sign comes on, that it's time to go to the bathroom. I don't get this. Go when the sign is OFF. Now you ask why I care....after all they are the ones taking the risk.... if the airplane hits a good bit of unexpected clear air turbulence (CAT) and I've experienced some really major CAT in my life, your body is going to come plowing into mine if you are up and about. A 200 pound human body makes one heck of a projectile. So for crying out loud, SIT DOWN when the seat belt sign is on.

3. Kids.... Now I fully realize that mothers can't make crying babies stop crying. It is sometimes painful to listen too, but it does not irritate me. I understand it. However when kids become old enough, and that there really is not an excuse for bad behavior, then it drives me crazy when parents will not discipline them and  hold them accountable. Just now, I have a child behind me that has been screaming, making all sorts of noise and kicking the backs of chairs. His parents are here, and had no concept how annoying this kid was being to his fellow passengers. It was amazing, once I turned around and said something, how that made the difference. I'm not sure why people are more willing to take these things than just turn around and kindly let the parents know that the child is being annoying.

4. Reclined seats.... I like to recline my seat, and most travelers do. The problem is, at least on many flights that I'm on, when someone reclines the seat, I can't use my laptop because there is no room. I mean, what good is the wireless on the plane if I can't use my laptop. This is a total design fubar in my mind.

5. Electricity.... How many business people are flying? How many laptops do you see on planes? How is it that both at the airport and on the airplane that getting power is sometimes impossible. Now to be fair, Delta has put up charging stations in many of it's hubs, but there are few of them and they are often heavily used. Other airlines have done this too, but the problem still exists in large part and needs to be addressed.

OK... those are my gripes for now. What frustrated you at the airport or on the airplane?

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