Friday, May 26, 2017

Is Air Travel Coming to This?

Operation Solomon-Photo Courtesy Patrick Baz/AFB/Getty Images
As if American Airlines hasn't enough customer service headaches along with other legacy and low-cost carriers, it chose to add more salt to its passengers' wounds. AA is decreasing the seat pitch in "steerage" class to a miserly 29". On flights with 30" and 31" pitches, I still get my kneecaps bruised by the person in front reclining an inch or so.

Normally I won't recline my seat in coach if my flight is two hours or less. After boarding a longer flight, I'll usually recline my seat first, just to make sure the person behind me didn't clip on a "knee defender." To assume the crash position with today's seat pitches one only has room to bend one's head and pray.

Not to be outdone, United Airlines announced (in a whisper) starting in May, it will increase some of its triple-7's present 9-across economy seat config to 10-across.
This will be troubling for those up front in their lay-down beds. How can they sleep, over the moaning and screaming of those wedged-in behind, fighting for armrest space?

Oh, For Those "Good Ole Days"

Wanna weep? Check out the snippet below, probably from an edition of TWA's Skyliner employee magazine in the late 1960s (courtesy Airlineguys Tweet)

What has been your experience in flying coach/economy? Have you had unpleasant experiences with fellow passengers? Do you see safety concerns in your perceived ability to get to the evacuation slides in time? Feel free to post your observations or suggestions.

If you enjoy reminiscing about these airline tales of yore, please share this blog with your friends.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

First Class Mom

Mother's Day 1969
On this Mother's Day, as usual, I think back to my loving mother who passed away only two months before we could celebrate her 90th birthday. Although mom and I had our share of tumultuous times, some of which are mentioned in my upcoming book, we also had some great mother-son experiences. Here's a photo of mom and I in first class on TW900 from JFK to Lisbon in May of 1969. I was already in a very congenial mood after several drinks, with my Camel regulars at the ready.

After arriving in Lisbon, I rented a car which was just a tad larger than today's Smart Car. I remember driving up a narrow street in an old section of town waving at the pedestrians who were flailing their arms at us. Mom remarked, "boy these Portuguese folks sure are friendly!" When we reached the intersection at the top, I realized that I had ignored the international road sign indicating One Way-Do Not Enter. We had a great laugh after that...

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A Day in the "Not So Glamorous" Life of an Extra

Photo Courtesy of Dayton Daily News
If you squint and look real close you may see a portion of my left arm. Not quite the mark I was hoping to make on the big screen. Let me start from the beginning. My wife thought it would be fun to go to an open casting call for an upcoming Robert Redford movie set in the seventies era. We dressed up and headed to Xavier University with about 1,000 of our closest friends. (There's a reason these are termed Cattle Calls). After about a two-hour wait we had our picture and measurements taken, then sent on our way. I had almost forgotten about the whole ordeal when I got a call asking if I was available for a shoot May 1st. I initially asked if this was a joke but they assured me the call was legitimate. I arrived at 7am in Dayton for hair and makeup.

I expected to be a bank patron, which sounded pretty exciting since the movie involved a bank robbery. But things soon changed and I would now be part of a street scene in an old Ford Maverick. (I guess they didn't want me upstaging Mr. Redford.) My new task was to drive around the block of the bank passing Redford in an oncoming Blue Olds Cutlass. His car was equipped with a mounted camera on the passenger side, (but they forgot to put a camera on mine). We did this about 10 times with a lot of waiting around in between. About midday we broke for lunch which you are served after the crew has eaten, but I managed to jump right in with the regulars. I spent the rest of the afternoon back in the car waiting for my cues. I was beginning to feel like it was a remake of "Driving Miss Daisy". After about a 12 hour day we were dismissed signed our paperwork and left. After taxes I will clear under $100 dollars, not even enough to keep the lights on. But what the heck it was a fun ride! Now I'll just wait and see if my scenes make it thru editing. If we all get 15 minutes of fame I think I still have about 14 minutes and 59 seconds left on my tab. #theoldmanandthegun