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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 04:05 AM
Original message
No more easy flying.. Those days are gone forever..
Edited on Thu Aug-10-06 04:05 AM by SoCalDem
I was lucky enough to have flown in the "glory days".. a REAL piano in the coach lounge of an inaugural 747 flight...I even sat in the co-pilot seat of a Pan Am 747 from JFK to San Juan (daunting)..

gone are the fashion shows on Air Jamaica...the fantastic T-Bone steak dinners on delta..

No more "stewardesses" in hotpants or sharp designer suits..

no more Calder planes (Braniff was the BEST)..

What we have now is a flying Greyhound Bus... or perhaps Continental Trailways (the Avis of bus lines..2nd best)


The whole flying thing MUST be re-evaluated and changed dramatically...and soon..

instead of billion dollar detection schemes, and acres of dazed would-be-passengers, airlines must start thinking out of the box..

Perhaps vacation travelers will just have to accept the fact that their luggage can no longer travel with them on the same plane.. Trains always had separate cars JUST for baggage..

Business travelers, may have to start tele-conferencing more and flying less..or perhaps sending their personal luggage ahead to the location they plan to visit.. Maybe deluxe hotels that cater to businesspeople could even offer that at a service, and have the luggage stored until the customer arrives, sans luggage..

Each airport could have a separate baggage warehouse (they could conference with Fed Ex)... Baggage-only flights for the whole day's schedule could be flown to airports twice a day.. Passengers would still get claim checks, but they would have to return to the airport to claim their bags....

It would be a hassle, but would it really be MORE of a hassle and expense than what we see in the future?

Terrorists would not get much glory for blowing up a planeload of suitcases..

The passenger planes could use a system similar to the way ole time swimming pools operated.. You arrived clothed, changed into your suit and stowed your clothing in a wire basket which locked.. You were issued a key which you pinned to your suit, and when you were ready to go home, you just claimed your clothes..

Airlines could have changing rooms where passengers would disrobe, and put on loose fitting jumpsuits and put their carry ons in a see thru baggie..

The clothing could easily be scanned for contraband without having to "probe" any people..

passenger planes would be lighter too without all that luggage too..

I even see job opportunities in this plan...

think outside the box;;;;



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wakeme2008 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 04:11 AM
Response to Original message
1. LOL and you thought TSA was bad.... Australia is worse...
From my post of July 8 :)

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

From this thread on Cruise Critic
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=337532

When I responded that I had a small bottle of Woolite, we were pulled aside to have our luggage searched and had to give up the Woolite. We never got a good answer on what the issue was with detergent since it was in our checked luggage, but it wasn't a big deal. After all of the questions at port throughout the cruise, declaring what food, wood, and/or animal products we had, it was kind of funny that they took our soap
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tenshi816 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 04:29 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. I had a bag removed from an aircraft
prior to takeoff once in the late nineties (so it was a "pre-9/11" event). What happened was that the baggage handlers had roughed up the bag so much that a bottle of Listerine was punctured somehow and poured out over everything. The staff thought it was liquid explosive, removed the bag from the aircraft, then called me to the front of the plane to interrogate me about the contents of my luggage. No apologies were forthcoming from the airline about it being their fault the incident happened in the first place.

The flight was over an hour late departing because of all this.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 04:34 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. I was a travel consultant for many years and Ohhh the baggage stories
i have heard.. I wnet round and round with Eastern for MONTHS over a lady's brand new Hartman bag..

It had a HUGE gouge mark on the side..

Letter number one resulted in an explanation from eastern about how it was NEVER a good idea to buy expensive luggage because the whole purpose was to protect the inside contents and the bags should be expected to get damaged..

Letter numkber two (omitted the brand name) resulted in a letter chastizing the passenger for buying CHEAP luggage..said that passengers should always spend a lot on luggage so it would withstand that baggage handling procedures.

Letter number three was from her lawyer with copies of both letters.. she got a check from Eastern :)

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Bluebear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 04:16 AM
Response to Original message
2. We were just talking about the same thing.
I am a former flight attendant... we used to carve steamship roasts in First class... multi-cart meal service, caviar to ice cream sundaes which had the passengers waving us off, "no more food!" The 707 killed off the transatlantic shipping lines, made the world smaller. I wonder if travel will deconstruct now. "See America First"...or see America only, perhaps. Personally I always wanted to see the Pyramids, for instance, but doubt that I ever will now. I think domestic destinations such as Vegas, Orlando, etc will continue to thrive, whilst faraway destinations will once again become more exotic destinations that they eventually came to be.
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tenshi816 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 06:18 AM
Response to Reply #2
17. I believe you are right.
I wonder if my sons will be able to fly as much as adults as they have up until now. For instance, my older son has just turned 15 and has been flying throughout the world since he was 4 months old. We're going to Aruba (from the UK via Amsterdam) next week, he's off to Sicily for a week on a school trip in October and next year he's going to South Africa with a jazz orchestra he plays in, all in addition to our yearly trip to Banff and another to the States to visit family. That's a lot of air miles for a kid to notch up in less than a year. He takes it all for granted because he's travelled frequently all his life, but I tell him to enjoy it now because I don't think it will be like this 20-30 years in the future.
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izzie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 04:21 AM
Response to Original message
3. Hear is a story for you
My father once could not get on a plane to Canada because he had for got his draft card. He knew a judge who said he was not trying to just get out of the country and finally they let him on. It was WW2. My first trip was to Canada about 1947. I have just stopped going any place now. Late 1990's and the whole thing was a pain I hate to think what it is today.
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annabanana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 04:32 AM
Response to Original message
5. lotta interesting ideas there SoCalDem
Yes, a friggen pain in the butt.. but effective.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 04:37 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. and cheaper too
people can and do adapt to all kinds of inconveniences...but they have to be relatively simple and easy to comply with..

It would be a pain to have to return to the airport to get luggage, but I would feel safer if I saw everyone wearing jumpsuits and no carry ons...and no ticking luggage underneath me :)

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tenshi816 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 04:39 AM
Response to Original message
8. I can only imagine what flying was
like when passengers were valued instead of barely tolerated. You must have some great stories.

My uncle spent his career as a Delta executive and back in the day he, his wife and their five children flew free, first-class, to anywhere Delta flew, as often as they liked. They had some marvelous times. I bet that doesn't happen anymore.

I've spent many hours in the air myself and, like you, can also see how much it has changed. It's vastly different from when I first started flying as a teenager to the way it is now. Flying somewhere - anywhere - used to be more of an "event". Now it's no different to getting on a bus (your analogy was a good one). In fact, you'd probably get more leg-room on a Greyhound.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 04:50 AM
Response to Reply #8
10. I went on many "fam" trips (travel agents perks)
Edited on Thu Aug-10-06 04:51 AM by SoCalDem
and the service was excellent..almost always got bumped up to first class and it was free most of the time..

occasionally a special trip would come along that we had to pay something to go on.. Like a 3 week trip to India for $50.00 (didn;t go on that one..still kicking myself)

but it was fun to call my husband at work and say.. "Wanna go to Puerto Rico for the weekend"....or to spend two weeks in a beachfront villa in Jamaia (with a car) for $100 including airfare from Chicago for both of us..

Two weeks was actually too long, and we were itching to get home.. Jamaica's not that big of a place and we kind of got bored..

we also had a 9 day cruise for $100 (including air fare for both of us) That was a cheapie because it went to Haiti/Dominican Republic/San Juan/St Thomas (love that place)..

Airline food was good, drinks were free, and there was lots of legroom back then..
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Divernan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 04:48 AM
Response to Original message
9. Glory Days! Flying First Class in the Sixties was really terrific.
I was living in LA, with the first grandchild of my doting Mom on the East Coast. Grandma treated us to several vacations back East, and included first class airfare. Filet Mignon & your own private bottle of pretty good wine. Later when we had two kids so needed four tickets, we flew coach. The flights went LA to St. Louis to Baltimore. At the St. Louis stop, we could stay on board if we wished, and our two pre-schoolers had the whole plane to play in. One time the pilot came back to talk to us and took our son (not our daughter - hey, it was the early 60's) up to sit in the pilot's seat & showed him the controls.

As to sending luggage ahead - in the Caribbean on small lines like Winair or Caribe or Cape Air, luggage often arrives on an earlier or later flight - depending on how many seats they can sell on a plane. The planes are so small that weight is very carefully figured - even asking every passenger how many pounds they weigh. Rather stressful to have the little twin prop plane pulling away as you see your bag with all your dive gear still sitting on the tarmac. The little prop planes are still fun to fly in. Sometimes you're assigned to sit in the co-pilot's seat - again a matter of balancing the weight.

Just flew Delta in and out of Boston, JFK, Pittsburgh & Cincinnati - the planes were configured all coach - and were a little roomier than Continental coach. Plus, you had a selection of decent snacks offered twice! As opposed to one bag with 20 dry peanuts on Continental. The best coach I've flown recently was Air France, Newark to Paris to Istanbul. On the trans-Atlantic leg, wine & liquor, including a fair champagne were free and you had a choice of dinner entrees - good French cooking. Breakfast included hot croissants. And each coach seat had an individually controlled entertainment screen in the back of the seat in front of you, with about 8 NEW movies, each starting every 15 minutes, so I watched 3 movies on one flight. I wondered if the French govt. subsidized the airline.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 04:53 AM
Response to Reply #9
11. OH GAWD.. Winair... you reminded me of a creepy flight from San Juan
to St Thomas before they redid the airport.. I swear we landed with the wheels in the water...

and that little plane creaked and groaned the whole way there :)
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Divernan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 06:45 AM
Response to Reply #11
20. For real thrill, Winair's take off / landing on island of Saba
This steep volcanic island,with no beaches (just south of St. Maarten's) has the world's shortest commercial landing strip, and is listed as one of the most dangerous airstrips. The tour book warned me that the landings were scary, but didn't mention the takeoffs, which are terrifying. The airstip has steep cliffs at both ends - plunging hundreds of feet into the ocean. And when you take off, it's like an aircraft carrier takeoff (as people explained it to me later). The plane actually drops below the level of the runway and very, VERY sloooooowly begins to gain altitude. I truly thought we were going to crash into the sea. It did not help that the local ferry had broken down so that the plane was packed to the rafters with people and packages. I tell people the most frightening experience I've had in scuba diving was not any of the sharks I've seen, but that takeoff.

By the way, with the increase in fuel costs, the islands in the eastern caribbean and west indies have greatly curtailed transport between the islands. Just two years ago there were two ferries operating between St. Maarten's and Saba, and multiple daily flights. Now there is NO ferry service, and no daily flights. Also no ferry service between Montserrat and any of the other islands. The ferry services never made a profit and were subsidized by various govts. The UK picked up the tab for Montserrat. It was costing them some $30,000 a day, and they were not willing to keep paying it.

Final note: when the presidents/prime ministers of these little island countries visit each other, they fly on the regularly scheduled flights of these tiny 8-20 passenger planes.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 12:45 PM
Response to Reply #20
28. I think a ferry ride would be scarier.. I'm not sure I would trust
a creaky ferryboat either..

I'm just glad I did most of my traveling when it was still fun :)
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tenshi816 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 06:02 AM
Response to Reply #9
15. I like the food and free champagne
Edited on Thu Aug-10-06 06:04 AM by tenshi816
on Air France but have always had problems with them otherwise. I've flown from London to Paris to Atlanta a half dozen times on Air France and they've lost my luggage every single time, plus none of the flights left within two hours of when they were supposed to. Any queries are met with a Gallic shrug of indifference.

Still, unlimited free champagne and decent food does make up for a lot...

Most airlines I've flown in the last couple of years now offer the individual entertainment screens but Air France was the first I saw them in, about 1998 or so. I'm glad to see that the idea has now spread to other airlines. It makes travelling with children so much easier on long-haul flights when they have a choice of what to watch and games to play.

Edited for grammar
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Divernan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 06:51 AM
Response to Reply #15
21. I managed with a jampacked carryon - so didn't risk lost luggage.
Gate checking is the only way to go. And I got those new TSA approved combination locks to use whether gatechecking or checking stuff through. Gives me some peace of mind.
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dipsydoodle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 05:29 AM
Response to Original message
12. You're applying
common sense - as usual. :)

ps I'm sure you'd look great with a 5 string banjo - 5th, short string, is the "g" string !
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 05:30 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. Hah!
turn back the clock about 30 years, and ...maybe....

these days, it would be "hidden" :(
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Kolesar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 05:58 AM
Response to Original message
14. I think the airlines make *most* of their money on air mail & air freight
Hence, the airlines are going to want to fill the cargo hold with packages of some sort. I don't know if security can be done any better with packages than with luggage that is checked in a few minutes before the flight.
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Hekate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 06:09 AM
Response to Original message
16. Some excellent ideas, SoCalDem. I dread flying now...
My cousin was a stewardess and married a pilot. (I think she started her career in the late 1960s.) The two of them got to travel the world, her parents got good deals too. What a great life. I never had the eyesight to even think about that career.

I've only had two first-class flights in my life, and both were memorable. The first time, in 1957, my family was being moved from California to Hawaii by my father's employer. It was fabulous; we kids got free playing cards, plastic wings pins, visited the pilot in the cockpit, and got to look at a genuine movie star I'd never heard of (I was only nine) but who disgusted my mother by getting sauced. The second time I volunteered for my 2 kids and I to get bumped and when we resumed travel it was first class. It was as nice as I remembered.

Budget-class used to be just fine -- you got meals, the seats were an adequate size, and all that. I was able to afford to take my kids to visit relatives who live too far away for me to drive over a one-week vacation.

Now the experience is worse than Greyhound, which at least has roomy seats and a toilet large enough to turn around in. You know what to expect on Greyhound, so you pack lunch, water, and a book. You don't have flight attendants telling you not to get out of your seat when all you want to do is avoid deep vein thrombosis while flying between the East and West coasts. Greyhound doesn't sit you on the tarmac for over an hour in Phoenix when it's over 110 degrees outside with no AC and no water.

I live in Calif and my frail elderly mother lives in Salt Lake City. I have felt pretty much stuck with flying in an emergency -- but as I write this litany of complaints, I wonder how long it would take to get there by train. I've been very happy with my Amtrak trips along the Calif coast. That's a thought.

Because I think you're right -- air travel as we used to know it is dead. All the trips overseas I was waiting to take until some other time may just have to wait for the next lifetime, sadly enough. Time to see more of North America...

Hekate

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Hekate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 06:41 PM
Response to Reply #16
32. Just out of curiosity, I checked Amtrak today: SoCal to UT takes 2 days
More specifically, Santa Barbara to Salt Lake City requires an overnight stay in Sacramento. Guess that won't work either.

Listening to the news today, it seems that carry-on drinks may be restricted in the future due to the Heathrow flap. Well, if the airlines would just feed and water the cattle -- er, passengers -- in a compassionate and adequate manner, that would take care of one problem right there.

Hekate

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acmejack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 06:22 AM
Response to Original message
18. My greatest thrill as a child was sitting in the co-pilot's seat!
A generation of children deprived of that sensation. Of course, this generation shall be deprived of so many simple pleasures as well.

Socaldem has a terrific idea, the jobs would be the fly in the ointment. How do you keep behemoths like Fedex, UPs and DHL from absorbing them, since it is their business?
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BlackVelvet04 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 06:37 AM
Response to Original message
19. The last time I flew
I was, IMO, molested by security looking for something on my person. I was one of the lucky ones to get tagged for random bag searches, etc.

I'll stay at home, thank you. I would only fly now in an extreme emergency.

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QuettaKid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 07:03 AM
Response to Reply #19
22. wow. I am so jealous.
reading all these stories of you lucky bastards who got to fly in the glory days. You got to visit the cockpit as a kid?! I think for the immediate future, the minijets and flying from small airport to small airport will be the way to go. I for one, would like to see the Zeppelins brought back. Now THOSE were the glory days of flying. ( minus the picture of Hitler obviously...)


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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 01:54 PM
Response to Reply #22
29. Those pictures remind me of a diner
but it did seem to be a relaxed way to fly...until...well, you know
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Atman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 07:15 AM
Response to Original message
23. You have some good ideas, but...
The coming back to the airport won't work. Most airports are mile from metro areas, and for many people, just getting to the airport requires they block off half the day. It just isn't practical. But shipping luggage to central locations or something similar could work.

Also, changing clothes is totally impractical. Not only would it take too long, for some people dressing isn't as simply as slipping on a pair of Levis. The elderly, in particular, often need assistance and/or take 45 minutes just to get their left leg into their Sans-A-Belts. Besides, clothing can be adequately scannned while it is still on the body just as easily. Maybe, though, we have to get American's to stop equating a hand search with a sexual groping, and suing agents after they're searched. I mean, if you're going to carry on "a substance," would one be likely to try to hide it in his/her shirt pocket, or tucked into the "private areas?" Accept the fact that when you go through the search line, someone is gonna grab your sack, rub your ass or squeeze your tits. Hell, they do it at clubs in NYC I've been to. A quick grope and you're in. Americans, fat and ugly as so many are, somehow feel everyone wants to look at their nekkidness for jollies. Ugh. The people doing the searches look at a brazillion bodies a day, they simply don't care. Okay, maybe if Eva Longoria came through my line I'd be obliged to be extra-thorough, but otherwise, Lurleen Bigbottom needs to get over herself.

Aside from those issues, you have several good ideas. But I still think they should bring back the grand piano and steak dinners.
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Divernan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 07:25 AM
Response to Reply #23
24. Lurleen Bigbottom? LOL - right, she always sits next to me!
That's why I always get an aisle seat - so I don't end up jammed between her and her cousin, Gomer Beergut-Thunderthighs.

I have noticed that cute teenage girls with the belly button ring/bare midriff tops tend to get called aside for more thorough searches.

Then there's my hefty sister-in-law, who was consistently chosen for the more intense screenings. She finally blew up and said, "What is it with you guys? You have to pick on fat German women?"
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Cruzan Donating Member (806 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 07:47 AM
Response to Original message
25. If you fly on some non-U.S. airlines some of that is still available
Singapore Airlines, for example, has job openings for the positions of Indonesian Flight Stewardess and Taiwanese Flight Stewardess.



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cgrindley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 07:57 AM
Response to Original message
26. I'd cheer the end of carry on luggage and all in air electronics
Assholes and their cellphones: goodbye. Hoards of incompetent losers fumbling around in overhead bins for giant suitcases: goodbye. That idiot sitting beside you with five shopping bags full of gross nonsense that they are going to force down their fat throat during the flight: goodbye. Retarded children and gameboys: goodbye. Jerky executives with huge folded over suit bags, shouting on their cellphones: goodbye.

I'd be totally willing to fly naked and sit perfectly still in absolute silence for a 7 hour flight. It'd be bliss. No one talking. No bleeps and blips of video games. No movies. No stinking and/or disgusting food (nalgene bottles full of god knows what).

Surely people are not so ADHD as to be able to sit still and pay attention for a few hours. Jesus.

Imagine how nice it would be to get off a plane today. It would be soooo fast.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 11:33 AM
Response to Reply #26
27. I always hate the landings..when everyone JUMPS into the aisle
and starts opening the overhead bins to drag their stuff out..so they can get off the plane in a hurry.. No one gets off until they open the damned doors,...so just sit back down & wait dammit.. My husband & I are the patient types who are perfectly happy to wait until the idiots are off the plane.. :)
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onethatcares Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 02:11 PM
Response to Reply #27
30. I add a big amen to that
the funniest part is, people that stored their stuff right above their heads, can't find it at that unboarding part.
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Initech Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 02:15 PM
Response to Original message
31. The Bush administration is now officially more dangerous than Al Qaeda
This has gone too far. This shit must stop. NOW.

Lieberman was the first, they're going fast, folks!
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 07:54 PM
Response to Reply #31
33. I'm afraid the shit will never stop..
Once you crack the egg and scramble it, you won;t be getting a chick...no matter how much you pray or hope.
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