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An Open Letter to Ma and Pa Kettle

An Open Letter to Ma and Pa Kettle

Old Apr 24, 10, 8:58 am
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An Open Letter to Ma and Pa Kettle

Dear Ma and Pa Kettle,

Congratulations on taking your first flight in 8 years! I am sure whatever it is that you have decided to travel for is well worth it, and let me be the first to wish you luck on your travels.

However, there are a few things you should know and I would like to take this opportunity to offer you some advice, just to make your (and everyone else's) travel much more efficient and comfortable.

I know money is valuable, but you may want to part with another 50 dollars or so to fly direct. I know you feel as if you have "beaten" the system by going from MCI to SFO via PHL, BWI, IAD, ORD, ABQ, LAX, and SNA..but you will get tired and confused if you turn a 3 hour trip into a 28 hour trip, and odds are you will miss your connection somewhere. Only us "smart" fliers who get a few miles would ever dream of taking on such a route!

As the great Homer Simpson once said, "The have the internet on computers now?!"..he computer is your friend...yes, even the yellow 486 in your wood panelled basement can be your friend when you travel. This is not 1988 and showing up for check in 1 hour before boarding is not likely to get you seats together. Nowadays, you can pick your seats online (by "online" I mean via computer). Why, you can even purchase your tickets AND select your seats at the same time on most airlines! And you can print out your boarding pass AT HOME a day before you fly, saving you the trouble of standing in line as soon as you get to the airport! But if the ink in that reliable old dot-matrix printer of yours is a bit dry, you can still print your boarding passes out at the airport on those machines with the tv screens in them.

If you do fail to get seats together, please do not board and simply take ANY seat you see. Unless you are on Southwest, which odds say you are, but for now lets pretend you are NOT on Southwest. Those seats belong to the people with the boarding passes for them..they may well have paid for those seats specifically, and not all seats are created equally. Some are indeed more expensive than others. Some airlines charge extra for exit row seats. Those big, comfy, wide seats upfront? Yeah, you are probably not supposed to sit there. That's for people who paid 10 times what you did, or who fly often enough to be uprgaded to them. You belong further back. If you really really want to sit together, ask someone to switch with you..but do not simply take someone else's seat and expect them to give it up because you are with another person. Ask first. And do not offer your last-row middle seat in exchange for someone elses exit row aisle seat..you might as well ask to trade your 1988 Grand Marquis for someone's McClaren Mercedes.

As you will be disoriened and confused at most stages of your travel, you will need to stand stock still and orient yourself. This is fine, but be mindful of where you do it. Standing stock still in confusion in the ailse of the plane during boarding or deplaning, at the top of the jetway during deplaning, at the doors of the washrooms, at the top or bottom of the escilators or in other high foot traffic areas is simply going to impact others in a negative way.

Despite outward appearances, the Flight Attendant is NOT a waitress. You only annoy them when you complain your tea is cold or press the call button for another beer. And they don't like to be called "stewardess".

Although certain things are good for day to day tasks, they may not make ideal luggage. For example, your shopping trundle buggy is good for taking groceries back to the house, but not so good as carry on luggage. Neither are plastic shopping bags and garbage bags. And if it doesn't fit in the overhead bin, it doesn't fit. You cannot change the laws of geometry.

If you have assigned seats, you do not need to crowd the gate. Go with your zone or seating area or boarding group. You only block the way for people entitled to board before you..your flying betters...As a matter of fact, you don't even need to wait AT your specific gate until 20 or so minutes before departure. You can sit in the quieter areas around the terminal. Lots of room to stretch out and have some peace and quiet..take it.

I know you are fat and require large amounts of empty calories. I know most airlines do not serve food in coach for flights shorter than 15 hours..but if you bring your food onboard, please be mindful of the fact that in a small metal tube with circulating air, your food probably stinks. Do you really need to munch on boiled eggs and tandori chicken??

Those blankets and pillows sitting in those big seats up front? That's not the "take me" pile. Once again, those are for your betters up in first and business class. And don't even think of using the overhead bins in first class so you can grab your bag at exit...use the one over your seat.

Speaking of seats...although it's not immediately apparent, the seat back infront of you has another side, with a person sitting in it. Kicking it, using it to haul your ... out of your seat, or using each and every ailse seat back to steady yourself on your 4th trip back from the lavatory is going to shake, jolt, wake up, and otherwise disturb the occupant of that seat.

We sometimes meet all sorts of interesting people on a trip. But you should remember that not everyone cares about the cruise you are going on, your dumb adult kids, or your hell-in-a-handbasket reminices of days long gone by. You are not obligated to chat or make small talk with the stranger sitting next to you..or with everyone within earshot on a shuttle bus or in a line...Pa Kettle, you are particularly prone to this. If the person sitting next to you does not want to chat, don't press the issue.

Some of you younger Kettles out there may have wee ones. Kettlelings if you will. Before you fly somewhere, please ask yourself if you really NEED to bring the kids, how your kids are likely to behave, and remember they are your responsiblity and nobody elses. Your if your kids are loud, hyper, crying, or generally out of control, please stop them. I am sure letting their tantrum fizzle out on it's own works at home, but on an aircraft you are subjecting everyone else to them so at least look as if you are trying to do something about it.

Once again, good luck and please heed my advice. If you were to take just one aspect of it to heart for ONE single trip, you can improve the experience for hundreds of people.
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Old Apr 24, 10, 9:18 am
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Are infrequent flyers ("kettles") necessarily any worse than frequent flyers (who may exhibit a DYKWIA sense of self-entitlement) in the areas of seat poaching, annoying the flight attendants, bin hogging, seat recline wars, etc.?
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Old Apr 24, 10, 11:12 am
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Originally Posted by tjl View Post
Are infrequent flyers ("kettles") necessarily any worse than frequent flyers (who may exhibit a DYKWIA sense of self-entitlement) in the areas of seat poaching, annoying the flight attendants, bin hogging, seat recline wars, etc.?
the difference between a kettle and a dykwia is....

kettle: pretty much as described in the opening post
dykwia: someone who knows how to travel but tries to abuse the system to their advantage and pulls a hissy fit when busted

in other words, ignorance vs arrogance
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Old Apr 24, 10, 11:22 am
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Originally Posted by tjl View Post
Are infrequent flyers ("kettles") necessarily any worse than frequent flyers (who may exhibit a DYKWIA sense of self-entitlement) in the areas of seat poaching, annoying the flight attendants, bin hogging, seat recline wars, etc.?
Frequent fliers can and do behave badly..however, bad behavior is less common than IGNORANT behavior and causes less chaos.

For example, a DWKYIA may be an occasional occourance, but getting behind a Kettle in the security screening line who did not seaparate their toiletries, is carrying 4 bottles of water and is wearing all their jewelry through the xray machine is extremely common.

While you may get a bin hog with an FF, someone with a trundle buggy and a carryon made of Wal Mart shopping bags..with Burger King in the other hand..who is trying to settle into 11B will slow up the entire boarding process. And there usually 10 or so type kettles per flight.
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Old Apr 24, 10, 11:37 am
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Closed pending Mod Review
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and Randy Petersen to review

Last edited by obscure2k; Apr 24, 10 at 11:48 am
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