Random observations/thoughts from this weekend

In no particular order:

  • Last night my redeye from Los Angeles to Washington Dulles left from the same area as the United flight to Sydney. The flight showed as having 15 seats remaining, yet there were well over a dozen passengers in the gate area dressed in wrinkly suits and dresses they clearly haven’t fit into in over ten years. Yes, the illustrious life of a non-rev. Unfortunately this flight was weight restricted, so the gate agent loudly announced “if you want to travel for free and are an employee or on a buddy pass, you’re not going tonight because we have a lot of mail and cargo.” A girl waiting in the gate area (her mother obviously worked for United) responded that “the mail should take their own plane, not our passenger plane.” Hey, here’s an even better idea: United should operate planes just for the SA’s! I almost felt bad for the family, until I realized that they’d probably be in first class suites the next time I’m stuck in coach on a 15 hour flight.
  • There are two skinny, maybe low-20 Asian girls in the gate area waiting for the IAD redeye, both with massive bags of McDonald’s food and probably 128oz. drinks. The one girl tries to place the drink on her suitcase, and as soon as she did that I knew it would fall. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years from being at airports it’s to put your drink on the FLOOR when you’re in the terminal and there’s no table. And whaddya know, “SPLAT.” Her friend just responded with “oh well, don’t worry about it. Let’s move over there.”
  • “By the powers vested in me by the FAA, I now pronounce you exit row helpers.”
  • The lady sitting across from me from Washington to Tampa had her headphones on and was sleeping for most of the flight. That’s fine, but her Blackberry alarm clock went off mid-flight, and she didn’t hear it. Yes, it was even that annoying “dana nana nana” chime. It rang for several minutes as all the passengers started looking around trying to figure out what was going on.
  • I spent 11 hours at LAX yesterday. It worked out well since I had a bunch of work I had to finish up, but I have to say, for me being at an airport is relaxing. I know I’m probably alone on that one….
Filed Under: Travel
  1. Um, why do non-revs wear suits and dresses? Does it affect their chances of making it on the flight?

  2. @Adam: there is a dress code for NRSAs in premium cabins on UA

    @Lucky: and when was the last time you flew 15h in Y? 😀

  3. Hello,

    When you–and others–refer to “non-revs” are you referring to people travelling on award tickets/upgrades, or to relatives and friends of airline employees?


  4. @ Adam — They only have to wear business casual, but this particular family was all dressed up. Others were in khakis and button down shirts.

    @ Despina — Non-rev refers in this case to NRSA passengers, which are “Non Revenue Space Available.” Award passengers and upgraded passengers are “revenue” passengers.

  5. @Lucky: good point re: business casual. I should have read more closely. I notice you ducked my other comment. 😀 😉

  6. @ FortFun — It was theoretical. 😉 Let me rephrase what I said: “The next time I’m suffering in business and they’re in first class suites….” Better? 😀

  7. … are we yet to talk about the special level of hell reserved for Blackberry owners who 1) don’t know how to use the off button and 2) know how to use their phone? 😉

    … I’m surprised the FA didn’t say “By the Power of GreySkull!”

    … and airports can be relaxing… providing you’re burried in a lounge, noise isolating headphones in and not giving two whatsits about the world (although at LAX I am a bit disappointed with you … not going to the In and Out Burger bar..)

  8. RE: enjoying a relaxing day at the airport

    You are not alone. I spent 23 hours at HKG last September. Long story…

  9. Ben,
    I have the triple RDM elite choice promo this entire month. Keeping that in mind….would you pay $421 for a quick MR out to San Jose which would net 2.45 cents per mile after the promotion? I’ve already obtained 1K for the year.


  10. @ Kevincm — Yes, yes, I swear I was going to go to In-N-Out, but I was literally buried in a cubicle in the RCC for hours on end writing papers.

    @ 23 hours?!?

    @ Brad — 2.45 cents per United redeemable mile? I definitely wouldn’t go for that. It would have to be under 1.5 cents per mile at the very most for my personal threshold.

  11. I recently flew as a NON REV which means NO F***iing MILES (bolding mine) and AC requires all to wear ” business casual” not a problem as that’s basically what I normally wear on a flight ie I normally wear cargo pants to hold the various tic-tacs I won’t put in the overhead.

    I love airports for people watching. When I was young I would go to the airport early to pick my dad up from his biz trips just so I could see the people.

    There are fewer places in the world where you can see such public emotion as in the airport. Be it people bidding goodbye to loved ones or welcoming them home, for some reason I always find this comforting.

  12. @ Monty — Regarding the last part of your post, you always find it comforting? I’m usually with you, except when you have a passenger that chews out the gate agents, the family that cries their eyes out when they miss their connection, or the angry businessman that bitches when the jetbridge is pulled before he gets there. Other than that, I agree. 😀

  13. I knew someone who almost got arrested in Madrid because of American Airlines’ dress code. To the mind of the customs agent, young male + long hair + stuffed backpack + oversized suit and tie = drug dealer. He actually had to show the ticket with the dress code printed on it to convince the agent that he was legit.

  14. Why identify that the two young women (“low-20”) were Asian? I find it a little annoying when people do this. White people identify the ethicity of non-whites when discussing something they disapprove. I read so many articles where folks like to mention the Asian girls, or the hispanic guy, or the middle eastern woman, or the black child when discussing a complaint. No one ever says “There are two skinny, maybe low-20 white (or caucasian) girls….”

  15. @ Ron — Wow, that sucks!

    @ Marbles — Oh gosh, pardon me for being descriptive. Are you also offended that I referred to them as skinny? What about that they were young? How about that they were females? The level of political correctness in this country just drives me off the deep end. Had they been blondes I would have described them as such. Sheesh.

  16. LAX? I can think of a lot of airports to like (HKG, SIN, ZRH, HND, NRT, NGO, SFO intl just to name a few) but LAX?? LAX = yeech!

    “By the powers vested in me by the FAA, I now pronounce you exit row helpers.”
    I like that! Did the FA wave their arms abracadabra like while saying that? That would have been funny.

    Self-centered drink spillers? Yeah, the behavior you saw is unfortunately typical in LA. They probably went to Westwood high…

  17. “Had they been blondes I would have described them as such. Sheesh.”

    No, you wouldn’t. Your observations on annoying habits from other individuals are clearly not as descriptive. What was the ethicity of the woman whose alarm went off for several mins before she shut it off? What color was the hair of the non-rev flyers who complained that the mail should take its own plane?

    Frankly, you never talk about the hair color of people you complain about.

    As an aside, I did not mean to offend, only to provoke thought. I mean, what was the value of telling us that the girls who behaved badly, and annoyed you, were Asian? So instead of being defensive, how about some introspection?

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