Wednesday, April 13, 2016
The Crucible of Travel
Never mind water boarding. If Donald Trump wants to extract information from all those sketchy refugees, all he needs to do is put them on a trans-continental jet for eight hours.
The first level of torture is the slow march during boarding, past all the first class seats, aka Shang-ri-la. We economy class peasants are subjected to visions of What Will Never Be. Seats that convert into homes-away-from-home, recliners that I'm sure offer massages, pedicures, and virtual reality entertainment, with football fields of distance between you and the nearest passenger.
Next, we passed business class, where you might have to speak to your neighbor, if only to ask him to pass the martini shaker. Right behind these are the comfort seats, where you pay an extra $100 for enough room so you're not traveling with a knee folded up beside each ear.
And then you walk through the portal of 4 paltry bathrooms for the remaining legions of passengers and you have entered into the dark land known as Economy. The only way to duplicate the experience would be to fold yourself into your eighth grade hall locker.
Against all odds, Lufthansa has managed to take the intolerable amount of space offered on airlines in the US and made it smaller. I was also lucky enough to draw a seat with a box housing mechanicals where foot room should have been. Thus, my carry-on full of water, magazines, neck pillow, and every other thing to save my sanity had to be unloaded and jammed into the tiny pocket in front of me. I tried conserving real estate by tossing the tiny useless pillow and airline blanket in the overhead compartment, but they were immediately handed back to me by an unsympathetic steward who was heaving suitcases into the same spot.
The man in front spent the whole trip in full recline, his head practically on my thighs. Thank heaven I can still touch my foot to my brow or I never would have be able to swivel through the eight inch gap that remained and over the arm rest so I could stagger to the loo.
Add lack of sleep, inaudible announcements, and a dash of wailing infants, and it explains why we were allowed all the wine we wanted, whenever we wanted it. Travel is not for the faint of heart.