Wednesday, December 16, 2009

LAX is not Even Kidding About Being There Two Hours Before Your Flight

The airport. I almost always try to fly out of Burbank airport whenever possible [side note: I know it's Bob Hope Airport, or "Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport" but no one ever EVER calls it that...just "Burbank", because? It's in Burbank]. I do this because it is small, and quaint, and you kind of don't mind being there. I mean, there's only one baggage claim! You can't get lost. You don't get tired walking from your car to the building. Or from the ticket counter to your gate. You get what I'm saying. But! Airfare being what it is (or was), my recent trip to visit family back east meant if I could afford to fly, I was flying out of LAX. And I hate just about everything there is to hate about LAX.

Exhibit A) American Airlines is located in the international terminal and I couldn't believe my luck when I found a parking spot at the mouth of the bridge that would take me exactly where I needed to be! Except that it wasn't until I reached the other side that I learned the ticket counters and baggage check were DOWNSTAIRS. The only elevator in sight was equipped with a keyhole and not a single button. There were escalators! Except I had to go down a mid sized flight of stairs to reach them. With my very heavy and equally awkward suitcase.

Exhibit B) At the ticket counter there is First Class check in, Priority, some special "I paid too much for my ticket" club, and self-check. The self-checkers make up about 90% of the travelers and not all of them can operate a credit card swipey machine at the grocery store let alone a "print your own ticket" kiosk. So this involves a lot of patience and waiting, and wanting to rip their itinerary out of their hands and JUST DO IT FOR THEM FOR THE LOVE OF GOD GET ME OUT OF HERE AND TO THE SECURITY CHECK POINT.

Exhibit C) It is the international terminal so I understand that in many cases there is going to be a language barrier. But I imagine that a line looks like a line in just about every country and if you see one that you are pretty sure you need to be in? You go to the end. Not wander to the front and try to be next....I'm looking at you little old Asian woman. And if you weren't about one hundred and twelve years old and look as if you might turn into dust right on the spot from the wind streaming from my lungs as I spoke to you, I might have said something. And because I'd been standing in line for a half an hour and only moved fifteen feet, I was cranky and anxious with nothing but time to think of reasons why you don't recognize a line when you see it and I decided that you use your age an frailty to your advantage and you're just a manipulative old lady. And I don't want to think like that...SEE WHAT LAX DOES TO PEOPLE?

Exhibit D) Finding your gate. Mine was gate 47A. I follow the sign for gates 40 through 49. And I'm walking....Gate 40. And walking...Gate 41...42...43. And walking...Gate 44...45. And walking...Gate 46...and then? Gate 49. W. T. F? Which stopped me dead in my tracks. How could I have fucked this up? Oh. I didn't. There was 47A, tucked away in the far right of the cul de sac at the end of the an afterthought.

Exhibit E) People who insist on standing in line to board the plane even if their group number hasn't been called. They stand at the ready. In the line. Except they don't move. Waiting for their number to be announced. And it's a full flight.

Exhibit F) There is always that one person on the plane...or in my case: that one couple. Their seats were not together and none of y'all will mind IF WE JUST SHOUT TO EACH OTHER DO YOU? UNTIL ONE OF Y'ALL CAN'T STAND IT AND GIVE US SOME SEATS TOGETHER? Obnoxious and obvious and the wife even louder than her thundering yeehaw husband. He was enormous and she was a twig. A twig with a beak like nose and exactly zero lips. And dressed in red jeans and a turtle neck, long sleeve t-shirt covered in a pattern of little reindeer. And I would bet my very last dollar that an identical outfit exists in the girls department in a size 6x.