Dirt-bag travelers, hearken these words of wisdom.
The time is upon us my dear friends in but eleven short days I will be standing in a crowded airport staring blankly at the ticket agent who will be trying to convince me to go home instead of chancing a flight to Japan when all the seats are oversold. If you’ve done it before, you know exactly what I’m talking about; stand-by flying…when you metaphorically, literally, spiritually, ecumenically, and grammatically fly be the seat of your pants. For most, the goal of stand-by flying (henceforth referred to as SB flying) is to get there. By any means possible. In the past I have even contemplated breaking the legs of paying passengers in an attempt to heighten my chances of getting on the plane or just stick my foot out and trip them just to see if they break an ankle…or head. You could call SB flying the great equalizer of modernday man. I am convinced that no matter how nice you are when you step into the air port, as soon as you step into the security line and pass through the S.S.S.S. (“Super Special Security Screening” - an unfortunate custom observed with every SB passenger where the guards make you take off everything but your pants and shirt in an effort to thwart terrorism. But what kind of dirt bag terrorist would fly stand-by anyways? If you’re going to kill yourself at least do in comfort and style-that’s what I say). There are a few rules of SB flying that I have learned over my extensive experience there of:
1. Never listen to The Check in Lady. Her main purpose is to get rid of you and treat you like trash. Remember—you are not a paying customer, therefore your opinion doesn’t matter, you are only extra work.
2. Be head strong. Many times the only way of getting a Check In Lady to help you with something is by being persistent and annoying. This is not an act of rudeness because you will find that they react the exact same way, and in fact treat everyone with the same rudeness. One might call this the airport culture.
3. Be open to friendliness especially with other SB’s. You could be in the airport stranded for days or weeks, there’s only a few other people who know your troubles like you do, the SB’s. They are your protection and your theft control at night-you must trust these people and comfort each other in your journeys and trials. As much as possible, learn the names and do small talk with The Ladies Behind The Desk and make yourself a friendly recognizable face-this will help you feel more at home and may also serve as an anti-theft device.
4. Take everything in stride. Never panic or show signs weakness, I’m convinced the Ladies Behind The Desk like to see us that way. We will not ever let them win. Never.
5. Your primary objective of going to the airport is NOT to catch a plane (a common misunderstanding). Make your own primary objective i.e. make friends, carry old ladies stuff, read a book, do 50 push ups, make a Desk Lady laugh, time your run from one end of the air port to the other etc. Your secondary objective is catching a plane. With this attitude The Ladies always lose, and you are in a win win situation.
Now, go forth and do likewise my young choco-bean and be fruitful.
As you may have guessed, I am flying stand-by to Japan from Seattle on the 16th—18th area. A mere 11 days away, and though I feel bad for quitting my cruise ship office lady job so soon, I cant help but feel totally elated for busting out of that climate controlled prison of my soul. Almost there.