Why I don’t like to fly

As the British say, “There’s many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip.”

Flying back home was supposed to be the easy part.

I enjoyed a road trip recently, helping my son take his sons and their belongings down to Florida. After helping the boys drive down, I would be flying back home.

My son Steve and his wife Andrea had a great plan. He is currently going to school online. She works online from home. They home-school their kids.

There was no reason they couldn’t do all those things in sunny Florida instead of freezing Indianapolis, so they rented an Airbnb near Orlando for the month of February.

Steve and his three sons would drive down, bringing all their stuff in the van. Andrea would fly down two days later with the girls (ages three and five) to avoid having an 18-hour road trip with preschoolers.

Andrea’s flight would arrive late in the morning. About an hour after that, I would be flying back home on her plane’s return trip.

I spent the night with Steve and the boys after we arrived at the Airbnb. The following morning Steve and I grabbed donuts and coffee on the way to the airport.  We arrived 90 minutes before departure.

I looked forward to relaxing on the flight home. I was at the airport in plenty of time. What could go wrong?

I went into the terminal to go through Security. Steve stayed in the parking lot with the van, waiting to hear from Andrea and the girls once they landed.

Well, here is a little factoid you may want to tuck away for future reference: There are two different international airports serving Orlando.

As I wandered around the massive terminal at Orlando International Airport, I was bewildered.  I could not find any flights for Indianapolis on the departure board.

I was so confused that I finally did the last thing any man wants to do: I went to ask for directions at the information desk.

When I asked the agent at the desk where I could find the terminal for Allegiant Airlines, he gave me a funny look and said, “Allegiant doesn’t fly out of here.”

You know that sinking feeling in your gut when you realize that you don’t know what you don’t know but you do know that it’s not good? Yeah, that’s how I felt.

Back when Steve bought my ticket, he had emailed me a PDF of the boarding pass. I had saved a screenshot of the PDF on my phone so I could retrieve it more easily when I got to the airport.

Feeling really dumb now, I weakly protested, “But I have a boarding pass.”  I pulled up my screen shot, and there it was, my confirmation for Flight 2232, leaving at 12:11 PM.

The agent glanced at it and said, “I’m sorry, but you are at Orlando International Airport. Allegiant flies out of Orlando Sanford International Airport. It’s about 25 minutes away on the north side of town.”

I called my son in a panic. I got his voicemail. I left a frantic voicemail and then texted him. I went back to our van in the parking lot, but Steve wasn’t there. He had gone inside to the bathroom while waiting for Andrea and the girls to arrive.

When he finally got back, I explained the situation.  He called Andrea. She was waiting at Orlando Sanford International Airport for Steve.  She looked up driving directions on Google and said, “You should be able to make it here on time if you hurry!”

So I went into full-out NASCAR mode, speeding and weaving in and out of traffic like a maniac until we finally arrived at the terminal of Orlando Sanford International Airport with very few minutes to spare.

Fortunately, it was a much smaller airport. I hustled my way up to the security screening area and was relieved to see no one in line. I got up to the first desk and gave the agent my ID.

“Boarding pass, please,” He said.

I whipped out my phone, smugly congratulating myself for having that screen shot at the ready. But it wouldn’t scan. After several failed attempts, he said, “You may need to get a paper pass printed out. You can do that at the ticket counter.”

“Oh, I don’t have time for that! Let me try to find the original PDF.”

“Okay, sir, but you will have to step back so I can check in the people behind you.”

By this point I’m really getting irritated.  I’m trying to find the email that had the PDF. And now I’m behind someone else in line.  But I’m realizing that getting grumpy won’t help me deal with the TSA.

And the clock is still ticking.

Finally I find the PDF of the boarding pass. I show it to the TSA agent.  He scans it once, he scans it twice. No go. He shakes his head and scans it one last time.


Finally, I am cleared to go! He gives me back my ID and my phone, and directs me to the x-ray conveyor.

I’m yanking things out of my pockets, tearing off my sandals, whipping off my belt, and getting strange looks from the TSA people.

“I am sorry, I went to the wrong airport earlier, and I am really running late,” I explain.

While they’re scanning my stuff, I am directed to enter the x-ray booth and hold my hands up for a body scan. Are you kidding me?

And the clock keeps ticking.

They finally let me go.  I’m pulling on my sandals, stuffing items into my pockets; I skip putting on my belt and just grab it as I double-time it towards the boarding area.

Oh duh! I realize suddenly, I don’t even know what gate I’m going to!

Then the PA announces, “Final call for Allegiant Flight 2232 to Indianapolis boarding at Gate 13.”

The good news is I finally know where I’m going. The bad news is Gate 13 is at the very far end of the terminal.

So I start running towards Gate 13.  About halfway there, my body reminds me that I need to exercise more so I can better handle emergencies like this. But for now, slow down old man!

I slow down to a fast walk. My heart is pounding. I’m panting like a dog.

My heart sinks as I approach Gate 13. There is no one there but a young woman idling at the counter.

I stop at her counter to catch my breath and ask, “Is it too late to board this flight?”

“No sir,” she smiles, “You made it with about a minute to spare! Can I see your boarding pass?”

Arrrrgh!  I moan silently.

I pull out the phone, search for the email, finally find it, and hold it out for her to scan.

Buzz. Not again! Buzz. You’re killing me here! Then finally, BEEP.

“Enjoy your flight Mr. Smith.”

I breathe a huge sigh of relief. I stroll down the tunnel and see the last two passengers entering the plane ahead of me. I take a moment to put on my belt. As I enter the plane, I start to relax.  

Suddenly my bladder reminds me that, in all this commotion, I haven’t peed for quite some time now. No problem! I will pee, find a seat, take a nap, and wake up in Indianapolis.

So I’m half-way down the aisle, heading for the lavatory and scouting for an empty seat, when I meet Brunhilda, an unhappy flight attendant who apparently suffers from CRUD (Chronic Recurring Unpleasant Disposition).

“Where are you going sir?” she demands curtly.

“To the bathroom,” I reply.

“No sir, you have to get in your seat right now. We need to do our head count before we take off.”

“Miss, I promise, give me 30 seconds in that bathroom and I will do anything you ask.”

“Sir,” she says more forcefully, “You will have to wait. You need to sit down right now. Where is your seat?”

Oh duh, I forgot that Allegiant has assigned seating!

Feeling really dumb now. “Uh, I don’t know.”

Brunhilda does not like that answer.  She scowls at me, “Where is your boarding pass?”

Somebody please just shoot me now!

So I pull out my phone – again – and proceed to find the email – again – that has the boarding pass PDF. All the while my bladder is bloating like a dead possum on a hot summer’s day, making me regret that second cup of coffee on the drive to the airport.

“You are in seat 24D. You need to sit down right now!” she insists.

I think about all the viral videos of troublesome passengers being removed from planes by airport police and decide I should respect Brunhilda’s wishes. So I suck it up, so to speak, and quietly sit in seat 24D as instructed.

As I sat there, trying to relax and get into a Zen state that might halt all my subconscious bodily functions, nothing was happening. On the plane, that is.

We just sat there. Apparently there was some delay and we were on standby before takeoff. This is insane! I tell myself, There is no reason I can’t go to the bathroom!

I plot to quickly get in and out of the lavatory before Brunhilda sees me.

But as fate would have it, she is sitting right back there in the little room by the lavatory, and as I reach for the door handle, she gets really angry.

“Sir! You have to sit down right now! We are getting ready for takeoff!”

I try to remain calm.

“Miss, I am just about to pee my pants. Do you really want to have to deal with that?”

“Sir, sit down now!”

I mumble and grumble my way back to my seat.

I must admit, though, Brunhilda is an honest woman. The minute I sit down we begin to taxi down the runway.

Living, as we do, in this tawdry era of social media and ubiquitous video cameras, I begin to imagine just how totally embarrassing peeing my pants on an airplane might be.

I can picture the video going viral on YouTube – Geezer Wets Pants on Flight Home – complete with a slo-mo of the urine puddle trickling down the aisle and the glares of disgust on the faces of my fellow passengers.

Would the YouTube poster at least have the decency to pixelate my face to protect my identity? I doubt it.

After what seems like an eternity the plane levels off. The seat-belt light goes dark. The bathroom is open for business. I, of course, am the first one in line.

I would pity the fool who tried to cut in front of me.

But what if someone else had been in the same predicament as me on that flight? Would we have to duke it out for first dibs on the bathroom? Can you imagine the YouTube video of that scene?

Now you know why I don’t like to fly.

About David Smith

I help small business owners produce email promotions, newsletters, and websites.
This entry was posted in Humor, Lifestyle and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Why I don’t like to fly

  1. Pam L says:

    Glad you made it home high and dry. I hate flying too. Especially to Florida.


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