De­par­ture de­lay at KCI sum­mons ‘Bar­ris­ter of the Air’

The Kansas City Star - - Opinion - BY SHERRY KUEHL Columnist Reach Sherry Kuehl at snarkyinth­e­sub­[email protected], on Face­book at Snarky in the Sub­urbs, on Twit­ter at @snarkyn sub­urbs on In­sta­gram @snarky.in.the.sub­urbs, and snarkyinth­e­sub­urbs.com.

I love trav­el­ing for all the ob­vi­ous rea­sons and for the fact that it never dis­ap­points in giv­ing me some­thing to write about. For ex­am­ple, I soon as I got on a plane bound for D.C. at KCI last month it only took 30 min­utes for me to have a “there’s a col­umn” mo­ment.

The plane we had re­cently boarded had yet to leave the tar­mac due to a “main­te­nance is­sue.” Now, we knew about this is­sue be­fore the board­ing se­quence be­gan. When we got on the plane I as­sumed, I’m guess­ing along with the rest of the pas­sen­gers, that what­ever the prob­lem was it had been taken care of.

As so of­ten hap­pens in my life, I was wrong. Once we had all been herded on the plane and buck­led in there was an an­nounce­ment that the afore­men­tioned main­te­nance is­sue was still be­ing worked on. Hence, there was go­ing to be a “de­par­ture de­lay.”

This didn’t even elicit a sigh from me be­cause if there’s one thing get­ting older teaches you it’s pre­pare for life’s in­evitable hold­ing pat­terns. This meant that I had two books with me that didn’t de­pend on any sort of bat­tery and thus I could en­ter­tain my­self for at least six hours. I also had a “shar­ing” size pack­age of peanut M&M’s, so I was good to go in the sus­te­nance de­part­ment for quite some time.

I set­tled in and started read­ing. Af­ter about 15 min­utes of be­ing on a plane that was still grounded some pas­sen­gers be­gan to grum­ble. The num­ber one grip was, “Why didn’t the air­line wait to put us on the plane un­til the prob­lem was fixed?”

That’s a solid com­plaint. But, I’m go­ing to as­sume that they wanted ev­ery­one in those seats so the plane could take off as soon as it was good to go with­out the in­evitable time suck of the pas­sen­ger-load­ing dance and shov­ing my carry-on into the over­head bin waltz.

Twenty min­utes into still be­ing tar­mac teth­ered, things started get­ting more heated. This was led by one man who by this time I was call­ing the “Bar­ris­ter of the Air.” He was very vo­cal and prided him­self on know­ing his pas­sen­ger rights, pri­mar­ily that he was due a bev­er­age.

All I could think about was: How would this guy act in a real cri­sis if he was los­ing his mind over not hav­ing drink ser­vice af­ter less than 30 min­utes on a plane? This made me pon­der that per­haps this cry­baby should not be seated in the emer­gency exit row. It’s ob­vi­ous he couldn’t han­dle the pres­sure of open­ing the exit door or as­sist­ing in a plane evac­u­a­tion. Be­sides, I’m sure he would refuse to open the door un­til he got, at the very least, a Sprite.

I des­per­ately wanted to say some­thing to this know-it-all, be­cause while he was ob­vi­ously in love with the sound of his own voice, no one else was. In fact, I can’t imag­ine any sce­nario where I would be ap­pre­cia­tive of an­other hu­man orat­ing a series of opin­ions while se­questered in a steel tube. At the very least he should tweet his out­rage and spare the rest of us his blus­ter.

But I knew that speak­ing up wouldn’t end well for me, so I shoved peanut M&M’s in my mouth to keep quiet. Fi­nally, we took off. I silently re­joiced. This was pre­ma­ture.

When we were 15 min­utes into the flight, the “Bar­ris­ter of the Air” started up again.

This time it was about his “in­alien­able rights to re­cline his seat.” The fool didn’t know the emer­gency exit row seat didn’t re­cline. I de­cided this time to not put an M&M in my mouth and with great joy shared this in­for­ma­tion with him.

It made my flight.

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