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Friday, May 30, 2008

The Miracle of Flight

posted by on May 30 at 14:12 PM

My flight to Washington, D.C., is delayed by two hours. So I’m going to miss my connection to Burlington, Vermont, and since there isn’t another flight to Burlington tonight, I’m going to have to spend the night in Washington, D.C. (perhaps in the airport), and fly to Burlington tomorrow.

But this has happened before and I’m pretty zen about it. Besides, flying is immoral and we frequent flyers deserve to suffer and anything the airlines can do to make the flying experience more miserable—pack us in filthy planes, charge to check bags, randomly cancel flights, strand us in ugly airports—is going to make us think twice about flying in the future and that, ultimately, will be good for the planet.


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1 is that the right answer?

Posted by Lee | May 30, 2008 2:20 PM

Just wait until your favorite carrier sticks you with a $150.00 "carbon footprint tax".

At least then, you won't have to feel so guilty about flying.

Oh, you don't? I guess I missed the point. ;)

Posted by NapoleonXIV | May 30, 2008 2:23 PM

No, travel is always extra.

People who hate travel work for the Bushies.

Just look at what they've done to travel in their eight years of incompetence and hatred ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 30, 2008 2:25 PM

Where are you flying into? You can stay with my bro! Or, if BWI, take a cab to Baltimore!

Posted by Balt-O-Matt | May 30, 2008 2:26 PM

Dulles, Balt. That close?

Posted by Dan Savage | May 30, 2008 2:27 PM

Airplane travel accounts for about 2% of global warming gases. Livestock (beef) accounts for about 18%, not including related transportation.

So, to answer your question, only the frequent flyers who eat hamburgers deserve to suffer flight delays and lost luggage.

Posted by poppy | May 30, 2008 2:32 PM


According to Google Maps it takes 1 hour and 22 minutes to get from Dulles to my front door.

No fun.

Posted by Balt-O-Matt | May 30, 2008 2:39 PM

People will still fly no matter how miserable the experience. The airlines are learning that. And they gotten used to whiners - of which there are many.

Your trip to Burlington would take four days each way on a train. Are you ready for that?

So, what will happen is this: People will be made more and more miserable and start taking it out on each other. I haven't had one plane trip in five years wherein I haven't encountered at least one rude or inconsiderate son-of-a-bitch. I'm expecting more of the same. It has gotten to the point where I don't fly anywhere unless I really, really, really need or want to go there.

Posted by Bauhaus | May 30, 2008 2:46 PM

@6, hey, let's say we adopt the no-eating-cows philosphy. And by we, I mean all of us. Everyone. What happens to those cows? Aren't we at the very least morally obligated to keep feeding them? And then what do we do with them? Sterilize so they can't reproduce? I fear a world without cows.

Posted by My Hot Rod | May 30, 2008 3:05 PM

If you need to fly, you fly. If you need to feel guilty, you feel guilty. The two are not related in any way.

Posted by Fnarf | May 30, 2008 3:12 PM

Now you have time to come up with a GREAT plane alias! If I'm ever flying I've learned not to EVER tell people what I really do, lest I want to spend the rest of the flight hearing their entire life story, including all the messed up parts they usually skip for strangers. I can only imagine in your job! I recommend insurance agent. If you lead off with insurance agent and spew a few things like you're attempting to make a pitch to your new best friend your plane seat buddy, you will have SILENCE for the rest of the flight.

Posted by dawicksta | May 30, 2008 3:17 PM

If mankind had been mean to fly, we'd have all been born with tickets.

Posted by E | May 30, 2008 3:24 PM

@11 - until the day you sit next to an insurance agent.

I'd go with Boar Semen Extractor.

Posted by Fnarf | May 30, 2008 3:33 PM

@13 I am SOOOO using that one next time! (hopefully NOT sitting next to a boar semen extractor - nah - what are the chances!) Maybe I should also carry barely played albums with questionable cover art as well, to REALLY keep them at bay?! Nah - too risky for being a conversation made me laugh AGAIN today!

Posted by dawicksta | May 30, 2008 3:40 PM

Don't fly. Hope I never have to. Hate the airlines.

Posted by Vince | May 30, 2008 3:47 PM

Dan must have gotten a great airfare to connect in Dulles for a flight to New England. Better luck next time transferring at JFK or O'Hare. Besides, I always see cute guys at Kennedy, no toe tapping though.

Cum to think of it, Minneapolis was another possibility. Dan, what were you thinking!

Posted by AtlSea | May 30, 2008 3:54 PM

Knowing Burl as I do, this is not necessarily a bad thing. KIDDING. Lovely place THIS time of year.

Posted by JimmyA | May 30, 2008 4:03 PM

@8 - or in Europe it would take 8 hours on a train instead of the 4 days we put up with to take a train that distance here ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 30, 2008 4:10 PM

@13 I'm assuming you read Bonk...

Airplanes have become Greyhound buses with wings. If you want to go anywhere you have to put up with TSA hassles, overcrowding, and screwed up flight schedules. They have us over a barrel and with no efficient alternative form of transportation we are forced to abide by conditions that range from barely tolerable to execrable (the leaking toilet flight comes to mind).

Posted by PopTart | May 30, 2008 4:28 PM

I'll only ever fly if they let me sit next to this guy.

Posted by Harry the Guy with the Snake on his Face | May 30, 2008 4:36 PM

Oh, sure, Europe has fast trains, but when are we going to expand the Alameda-Weehawken burrito tunnel?

Posted by CP | May 30, 2008 6:03 PM

Whenever the world starts to overwhelm me, all I gotta do to cheer up is come to SLOG...

Posted by Ayden | May 30, 2008 8:19 PM

Damnit, Dan. Why are you going to Vermont right after I left for the summer?

Posted by MiddKid | May 30, 2008 8:25 PM

Just wait 'till they serve you non-dairy topping! Bwaa ha ha.
It seems "Movable type" doesn't want me to comment on the post where you imply you are in first class. "No such entry '37596'."

You know, I bought one of your books at full retail, if it had been on the remainder table I wouldn't mind so much your bragging about flying first class, but as it is I hope hell is saving some hot razor blades for you (it's in the third paragraph if you don't want to read the whole thing, and I wouldn't blame you if you didn't)

Posted by Epimetheus | May 30, 2008 9:29 PM

Maybe Dan is in the Santa film my dad's been working as an extra in, which is filming in Vermont?

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 30, 2008 11:38 PM

"Your trip to Burlington would take four days each way on a train. Are you ready for that?"

YES!!! How fun!!! When are we going? Should we take the Empire Builder across the upper plains, or maybe take the Starlight down to Sacramento and get on the Zephyr? It's much more scenic, but it gets delayed a lot, and the food isn't as good.

East of Chicago, I vote the Lakeshore Limited. And let's just go into NYC and spend the night, and get on the Vermonter the next morning. We could probably just transfer in Springfield or something, but why not have an evening in New York?

On the way back, let's just go up to Montreal, and take the train to Toronto, and ride The Canadian back, OK?

Ooooo!!! This will be fun! I love a train ride!!! I'll bring my travel scrabble, and we can play all the way across the country!!

Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay | May 31, 2008 8:14 AM

Where is our Howard Beale (Peter Finch in "Network") and if he arrives, will we follow him?

Americans have caved into complete proletarian wusses. The airlines have become the Politburo and the TSA is our KGB. We submit to unreasonable body searches and snooping into our possessions. We're treated like cattle with credit cards.

But as we're completely plugged-in and mollified and desensitized by our cyberstuff, a revolution is quite unlikely, and the perps will return to Crawford and their various gated estates, unindicted.

Meanwhile, we will be kept busy reliving and rewriting "An American Tragedy", and the difference among the old white guy, the half-white young guy and the middle-aged harpie won't matter of hill of fava beans.

Ask not "who is John Galt?" - but "where is Howard Beale?"

Posted by BELMONT PLACE | May 31, 2008 1:36 PM

"...won't matter A hill of fava beans..."

Posted by BELMONT PLACE | May 31, 2008 1:37 PM

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