Summer ramble


t's summer again and, the way I figure it, it's time for another seasonal ramble. The airlines will provide a common thread this time.

For years, I have kept notes from my trips indicating which seats on each aircraft type had space under them to accommodate my roll-on suitcase. This is important because I am too short to put a case in the overhead bins myself.

Now, I have stacks of notes and no energy for tabulating the results. But I have noticed that, in most instances, the case will fit under the seat if I have a window seat but generally not if I sit on an aisle.

Middle seats would work, but who wants that -- and can you imagine how weird it would be to ask for one?

So, window seat it is.

  • Window seats aren't so good if you listen to my doctor: He tells his patients to walk the aisles every 45 minutes while in flight.
  • He knows this does not win him points with cabin stewards -- and I admit I have not been taking his advice.

  • This one makes my ears ache: At the end of a trip, a cabin attendant is telling us to have a good day in the city where we have just arrived, or "wherever your final destination may take you."
  • Since when is a destination a form of transportation?

  • In April, I had my second 15-hour trip to Iowa in four months. There are no fingers to point, but the saga is worth telling (I think).
  • We departed LaGuardia on time at 8 a.m. but held over Minneapolis so long I missed a connection. The reason: Winds so strong they eventually closed the airport below us.

    So, we turned to Madison, Wis., for a wind-tossed landing and additional fuel. Soon after touching down, there was a medical emergency. A passenger had stopped breathing. Doctors on board stabilized him and the 23-year-old was then evacuated by stretcher.

    When we finally got to Minneapolis, I rebooked the next available flight to Des Moines, and as each flight was canceled in turn, I rebooked again (fortunately, many others went home or rented cars). At 10:30 p.m., the 6:30 p.m. flight departed with me on board.

    My conclusions? Minneapolis has one of the better airports to get stuck in, always carry a book when flying and don't travel to Des Moines the same day I do.

  • The carriers say they cannot allow passengers to use cell phones once an airplane's doors have closed.
  • I have one request of the airlines: If the technology changes and it is OK for passengers to use their cell phones, please do not ever tell anyone.

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