Wednesday, July 08, 2009

the real terrorists...

I realize that perhaps not everyone is as familiar with my version of "travel etiquette" as I would like, but there are certain rules of the road, if you will, that even the most inexperienced air traveller must surely accept. 
I think we'll all acknowledge that getting off the airplane is a drag. The plane is stopped. The door is open. But 234 people in front of you need to delicately remove their carry-on from the overhead compartment, place it in the aisle, release the handle thing, 
realize it's facing the wrong way, turn it around, double check their seat and essentially, take fucking forever lest a Redbook from November get left behind. I've come to terms with this travel fact. And while obviously, I am not one of these horrible people. I've prepared my belongings at 35,000 feet and can be off a plane in seconds, I accept this part of the journey and wait my turn while thinking horrible things about Pager Man in front of me. 
eryone, my wonderful family included, absolutely must be front and center hours before the thing starts moving. Hundreds of people line the side of the turnstile in breathless anticipation of their bag being 1st or 8th or 564th to tumble down. As if luggage not instantly claimed by it's owner was given to the poor, the biggest and boldest crowd right where the machine spouts out bags. Moments wasted as the baggage spins are moments never to return. And while I'm not one to sit front and center on the luggage turnstile waiting to win this imaginary race, I still understand their theory. We all want to get where we're going. 
Hey, me too! And when I see my bag fall from the top of that machine, I move myself forward and down the line a little, waiting for that big, shiny blue duffel to make it's way to me. Logical, right? 
Here's where my real problem lies. 
No one responds to any form of, "Excuse me, pardon me. That's mine. My bag's right there, if I could just, um, excuse me." 
Not a glace, nary a twitch. Most refuse to move a muscle, because letting you get your bag might mean they miss their bag's decent from the rotating machine mouth, thus causing their duct-taped monstrosity to go one complete, time-consuming and thief-filled ride around the turnstile. And we can't have that. A whole rotation? Never!
I'm hardly a samaritan, but watching an old man struggle to get his 1972 Hawaiian Islands Coach Tour suitcase off that thing as hundreds around him refused to move out of the way much less help, set me off. I pulled his bag off, hopefully bruising Queen Fannypack to our left and offered what I hoped would be a behavior-changing admonition. 
"My God, this is ridiculous!"
No one cared. Not a soul noticed. They were far too focused on where the Southwest Airlines baggage crew had placed their hastily folded elastic waist jeans, et al. 
My family's bags arrived eventually, as bags tend to do. And as we walked away, I looked back at Queen Fannypack. She was still standing against the turnstile, her knees knocking every bag as it went by and her eyes furiously focused on the cascading slide of luggage. 
Oh no, still no bag? Good. I hope they lost her bag and whatever shitty, highly flamable clothing she packed in it. Actually, I hope she's still standing there now, watching an unclaimed bag or two go around and around and around, wondering how her awesome plan of baggage claim attack went so wrong...


Holly said...

honestly! I love the convenience of the airport (it's 10 min from my house) but the baggage claim seriously sucks!

Mosuqueton said...

Spots, you deserve better; come join us at the private jet travel club.

Mal615 said...

Airports are completely the rudest places on earth. The same guy who makes a big show of letting the ladies get on the elevator first at the office building will knock even the frailest woman over to get on the train between terminals before anyone else.

Steve said...

You know what's even worse? When you get a fancy business class ticket, and you think your baggage is going to come out first with its classy orange "Priority" tag on it, only to have Economy people clustered around the baggage carousel blocking you from your priority bags, which will mix with regular bags by the time you finally get through the masses.