I was doing a little spring cleaning of my hard drives, and I found this blog entry from January 2009. It was meant to be a follow-up/epilogue to the series I posted about our Dinseyworld honeymoon. For some unknown reason, I never posted it. Reading it now, it seems totally ready for blog-dom, so I’ve decided it’s never too late to share. I originally titled the piece Don’t Fly U.S. Airways. There is only one missing detail (that I can recall), and it’s that the girl sitting next to me, on her way back to school at UW, was also sick. Immediately after we landed, she said exactly what I was thinking: “Well, that was the worst flight ever.” Read on for the rest of the details.
Don’t Fly U.S. Airways
from January 2009
Well I had hoped to post an update on the great Disney adventure a day or two after we returned, but I fell ill on the plane ride home. Well, I was already sick. I’d caught a cold on New Year’s Eve amongst the masses at the Magic Kingdom, but it was a mild cold. Then in the midst of the day of flying, I began to feel like one of the people in those early ’90s commercials… “Oh, I can’t fly with this head cold!” Only I didn’t have any Anacin, or whatever it was they were hawking, to help me out.
Shaun and I flew Alaska Airlines on the way to Florida. It was a non-stop, five-hour flight, and if you read the first entry of the trip, you know that it was a pleasant flight all around. The seats were comfortable, there was complimentary beverage service and though we did not take advantage of it, they offered DVD players with several movie selections for rent. The flight left and landed on time. It was great.
And on the way back, we flew U.S. Airways. This was a mistake. Repeat: Flying U.S. Airways is a mistake. Don’t fly U.S. Airways. U.S. Airways sucks. We boarded a two-hour flight from Florida to Philadelphia. We weren’t seated together so we had to ask another passenger to change seats with us. (Which he did, very nice guy.) Then, we had a three hour layover in the Philadelphia airport. For the next flight, Shaun and I still weren’t sitting together, and were even boarding in different zones. (Instead of calling rows 1-whatever, they print zone numbers on the tickets.) So we decided to wait until Shaun’s zone, the later and what turned out to be last, zone boarded. As we were walking down the ramp to the plane, an airport worker came running after me shouting something about my suitcase, then grabbed it, put a checked baggage tag on it and told me to leave it at the door. Well I wasn’t about to do that, so I took it on the plane anyway. Of course, being the last people to board, they’d run out of room in the overhead compartment and again they took my bag from me.
When we finally got in the air, all beverages were $2.00 or more, and I couldn’t even get a free cup of water. I could have paid for a drink, but unlike Alaska, which is a cashless cabin, U.S. only takes cash, which I did not have. By now, the (literal) pressure was getting to me and I was definitely uncomfortable.
There was no entertainment whatsoever. Nothing for free, nothing for rent. The rows of seats were closer together than they were on the Alaska plane, and all three people in front of me reclined ALL the way back, as far as they could, as soon as the fasten seat-belt sign was off. And they stayed like that the whole flight. This made for extremely cramped quarters, especially when I was trying to watch a video on my laptop. And my laptop is tiny! Then when we finally got off the plane, we had to wait at least a half an hour to get my suitcase from baggage claim.
It was absolutely the worst flight I’ve ever been on. And this awful, horrible flight was provided by U.S. Airways!
The next day, I was really not feeling well. My mild cold was mild no longer. I had the day off but was scheduled to return to work the following day. I thought if I didn’t feel better the next morning, I would go to the walk-in clinic where Shaun’s sister works. I thought this for a while, and about 4:30 in the afternoon, after checking that the clinic was still open, I insisted Shaun take me right then. It was as if we never landed, the pressure in my sinuses was so great. I got some steroids and antibiotics, and was out of it for about a week. Now, ten days later, I finally feel better, but I still have an obnoxious cold. And for all of this, I blame, who was it again? U.S. Airways. I couldn’t even get water!
Anyway, that was the worst part of the trip. Every time I fly, I hate it more and more (because they make it harder and harder) but now I see the difference between a good airline and a bad one. The rest of the trip was good. It wasn’t without its fair share of problems, but I’m glad we went. Next time I spend that kind of money, I’ll be going to Europe, but I’m glad we went.