Saturday, September 24

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Something smelly in the air

I'm sitting on a United Airlines plane heading home from Colorado when the smell of vomit engulfs me. I look around, but no culprit is in sight. Do I smell of vomit? Does the gorgeous girl sitting next to me think I smell of vomit?

The flight was looking so promising. I was sitting in the terminal when this beauty goes up to the check-in counter to confirm her seat. I pray that she is assigned the seat next to mine, as I always do when traveling alone and a beautiful woman glides into my region of the terminal. This time good fortune had smiled on me. But as I carefully sniffed out the odor, I realized it was coming from my seat.


I panicked and pressed the stewardess button. The flight attended arrived and asked gingerly if she could help me.

"Well, my seat smells like vomit," I said.

"It really does," said the beautiful girl, giving me a sympathetic nod.

"Oh. Let me see what I can do," responded the flight attendant.

A few minutes later, she returned to inform me that someone vomited on my seat during the last flight but that everything was okay because the seat had been cleaned. I pointed out that the seat still smelled like vomit and suggested that I be upgraded to first class since the cattle car section was full. The stewardess again noted that the seat had been cleaned, but I reminded her for the second time in 10 seconds that it still smelled like human vomit, and she could smell it herself if she didn't believe me. She said she'd see what she could do and wandered off.

The young woman sitting next to me agreed it smelled like "puke" and said I was justified in complaining. The stewardess returned with a bag of coffee grindings and suggested that I spread them on my seat to kill the odor.


"Are you kidding?" I asked.

"That's all I can do," she said. I was so enraged that I pulled out my laptop and promptly began typing a complaint to United Airlines. This seemed to kill any potential conversation with the beauty, but I did get a free ticket on United. Life has its tradeoffs I suppose.

Air travel is unsafe because people who couldn't care less about anything run every facet of the industry. The flight attendants don't care if your flight is pleasant, the airline executives don't care if your flight is an hour late, and certainly no one in the industry seems to care that the recycled air were breathing in the flight cabin practically guarantees you'll get off the flight feeling ill.

And how about those crackerjack security people? I generally don't like to pass my laptop through the x-ray machine out of superstition. Most security people will let you turn on your laptop to prove its not a bomb in lieu of passing it through the machine. I performed this exercise at Newark airport just two weeks ago. The particular laptop I use has more than enough space in its empty second battery slot to conceal a small gun or decent quantity of plastic explosives.

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I felt like pointing this out to the security people but instead decided to avoid the lengthy interrogation and strip search that would most likely have followed.