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Monday, March 29, 2010

Now Boarding at Gate 999

Back when I used to travel a LOT, I told an airline employee that I was very impressed with their company's computing power. When she looked pleased but a bit puzzled, I explained. I told her it took an amazing amount of computing power to assure that my original boarding gate was as far from security as possible, my arrival gate was as far from ground transportation/baggage as possible, or if I was catching another flight that my arrival gate and my departure gate distances were maximized. She was no longer as pleased.

I am travelling this week and have more musing on the wonders of travel.

I find myself even more amazed at the airlines computing power today. They still are able or maximize any distances I have to travel to, from, or between planes. However, now they are able to assure that my seat mate is larger than me. I am usually sitting with an empty seat beside me just knowing that the first person resembling King Kong that comes down the aisle will ask me to get up so they can sit next to me. I am sorry, but anyone that has a shoe that old women are trying to move into or a T-shirt size with more than two Xs should NOT be allowed to sit in a middle seat - ESPECIALLY next to me!

Sure enough, I boarded my flight to leave home yesterday and was on one of the small regional jets. I was in the window seat with an empty seat next to me. The plane was almost full and I stupidly thought there was a chance that I might actually have no one next to me and would be able to stretch out a bit. HAH!. Suddenly I felt the plane lurch to the side and start shaking like the glass of water in Jurassic Park. The lights were blotted out as a wall of human flesh moved towards my row. Of course, once I saw the leviathan I knew I had my seat mate. As he headed down the aisle, I noticed that no matter which way he turned his body he was brushing against seat backs and shoulders. I again was marvelling at the computational power the airlines have. I was not even aware they knew the weights and sizes of their passengers. But it is obvious to me that they are no only aware - they use this information to pick MY SEAT MATES!

Another use of amazing computing capacity is making sure I am sitting within two rows - always in front of - a person that has an active case of pneumonia or tuberculosis. This is a relatively new development. For the past two or three years, whenever I fly, there is someone behind me that is deternined to lose a lung during the flight. We were not quite down the runway yesterday before the lady directly behind me began ejecting portions of her lung onto and over my seat back. Seriously, there were a few times I thought she was going to pop an eyeball out. The air was thick with sputum and disease. Sandwiched in between the window and Jumbo beside me with pieces of diseased lung flying about pretty much makes for a wonderful trip. I think Dante had something similar in his seventh level of hell.

There are other examples of this massive computational wizardry on display when I fly. Like, how they make my bag come off the baggage carousel among the last. Or, how they can assure that my gate is as far from a bathroom as is possible. It is amazing that they can determine that my gate will be as far from an open refreshement stand of any type as it can be. Truly amazing. Must be a Microsoft - Intel thing. Hey Bill, I'm a supporter - call off the dogs.

I am looking forward to my return trip in a couple of days. I am sure Delta is offering a special out of Dallas to any retired Dallas Cowboy tackle that is looking for a few days in North Carolina. If they have pneumonia - they fly FREE!!

1 comment:

Holli T. said...

We always loved how AA would schedule our connecting flight for 15 minutes after our plane landed in Miami. We had 15 minutes to get bags, go through security and customs, re-check bags, and make it to the gate - on the other side of creation. Grrrrr... I would be happy to never have to fly again.