Back in the day, when I was travelling my ass off, some of us ended up on the same planes on occasion. The stories about what could/did happen were ‘hilarious’ and most of us had experienced at least a few of them…

Frequent Flyer Travel Corollaries

Or remember the rules and travel’s a breeze…


  1. If you drive your car, you will leave from Dulles and return to National or BWI, if you are being met at the destination, you will go to a different terminal (at the opposite side/end of the airport, or an entirely different airport; i.e. LAX vs. John Wayne).
  2. Your flight will be seriously delayed only after you have checked in and checked your luggage, thus trapping you on this and only this flight.
  3. If you board the airplane hungry: and you are sitting in the front; they start serving from the rear. You are sitting in the rear; they start serving from the front.  You are sitting in the middle; they start serving from both the front and rear.  Just as they approach your seat, all service will be terminated due to turbulence.
  4. FAA regulations now require that at least one crying baby on each flight.
  5. If there is only one parent with one baby, they will be seated in the two seats next to you (you will be stuck in a window seat).
  6. If there are two babies on the flight, they will sit directly in front of and directly behind you.
  7. If there are three babies on the flight, you will be surrounded.
  8. No matter where your seat is, it will under the overhead storage bin reserved for fire extinguishers and other gear (including the flight attendant’s luggage). All other bins will be filled, and you will be force to gate check your one piece of luggage (to be next seen three days after you return home).
  9. If you need to work or really need to sleep, you get a pilot who thinks he is David Letterman/Jay Leno and babbles throughout the flight (including the Red Eye).
  10. If you are flying over something you always wanted to see, forget it! It will be on the other side of the airplane, under clouds, or impossible to pick out without binoculars (which were in the gate checked luggage).
  11. After landing, you will pass every vacant gate near anything; finally parking at the most distant gate in the terminal.
  12. If you are late for a meeting, it will circle the terminal twice.
  13. If you are late for a connection, it will circle the terminal twice, pull in to the most distant gate and then wait while a gate agent gets driver training on the motorized gateway (at least 15 minutes, normally 30).
  14. If. you are late for the last connection and will miss your appointment, it will circle the terminal twice, pull in to the most distant gate and then be pushed back to a position on the ramp, then deposit you on a mobile lounge that only goes to the main terminal.
  15. If you are coming home from a long trip and the weather is bad and getting worse, it will circle the terminal twice, go back to the taxi way, sit for two hours (with no information from the cockpit) and only move after the flight attendants advise the cockpit that the passengers are about to mutiny and use the escape slides.
  16. If you actually arrive at your destination and are renting a car, three shuttle buses from every known rental car agency and a few unknown ones will pass before your bus shows up. Then, your bus driver will pretend not to see you or say the bus is full (because everyone has their luggage on the seat next to them).  Thirty minutes and three phone calls later, another shuttle bus will pick you up and proceed to stop at every exit of every terminal in that airport, and then go find another airport and repeat the procedure.
  17. You finally arrive at your hotel to find that because you were late, i.e. after midnight, they have no rooms, and the only room you can find in town, is actually out of town; and well above the allowed expense rate.

So remember, everyone is envious of you getting to go all these exciting places and have all this fun; sit back and enjoy (as long as you are not in an exit row seat that doesn’t recline).


  1. Customer Service personnel will foul-up your flight change or seat change to the point that they must clear the record and re-enter it. Which means you will have no seats on any flight and since they are all overbooked you must standby to attempt to catch any flight.
  2. If you think the regular customers are assholes; try the ones that are in the airline lounges! They make the standard complainers look like Amateurs (actually heard in Red Carpet Club in SFO, “There are people in here with perfume on, make them go away!!”)
  3. The last row filled in the airplane is Row 13. If you request it, you get some awfully funny looks and some strange seatmates.  Something about the Sun is only a satellite that channels….?
  4. Never argue with security. It’s like talking to a wall, even if they understand the language.
  5. A doctor’s certificate is not any good when you have pins in your leg and a halo on; they want you to take it off.
  6. Never, never, NEVER say gun around a security checkpoint (something about gun a car up a driveway).
  7. If a security type drops something, it’s always your fault (i.e. a computer) and they’re not responsible.
  8. Don’t ever take a view screen through SFO security! 45 minutes and a missed flight.
  9. Don’t take anything throught Rome! 2+ hours with no luggage
  10. Don’t use the bathroom near security in Madrid! or Athens!
  11. The competent Ticket agent is always helping the other person!
  12. The line at the ticket counter is the inverse of the time remaining before the flight boards
  13. Also the inverse of the number of people with problems/questions that take forever.

Corollary 1-   Frequent fliers don’t trust any ticket lines

Corollary 2-   Pay for the club, it pays for itself

True Story about a ticket agent

I was trying to get the lowest round trip fare from Washington, D.C. to California and was working through the possibilities with a ticket agent for a major airline.

At one point she explained, “Well, of course, the nonstop LA to Washington fare is higher than the nonstop Washington to LA fare, since the trip is longer.”

Stunned, I managed to ask, “Do you mean to say it’s further from Los Angeles to Washington than it is from Washington to Los Angeles?”

She replied brightly, “Oh, much further!  According to all the schedules, nonstop LA to Washington takes about *three hours more* than nonstop Washington  to LA.”


  1. Watch out for the “Delux” room, that’s the broom closet next to the elevator.
  2. Beware when the hotel says, “why yes we do have a room upgrade for you”, make sure you check the price! ($90 room to $800 room, charged $800 too!)
  3. Never trust management at any Mariott! You can tell when they are lying, their lips are moving.
  4. Never get room service at the Calavari Hilton- Antipasto, Pasta and bottled water $95 US.
  5. Never use anything out of the mini bar! Anywhere, anytime, NEVER!
  6. Holidex sucks!
  7. Best Business Hotels

Hilton Hawaiian Village

Royal Hawaiian

Sheraton Harbor Island, SD

The Del, SD

Downtown Athletic Club, NYC

St. James Club, LA/London

Savoy, London

Claridges, London

Airport Sheraton, Rome

Calavari Hilton, 7th Hill Rome

The President, Downtown Rome

Crown Plaza, F St. DC

Fairmont, (anywhere)

Omni, Atlanta

Hilton, Anchorage

Hilton/Sheraton, Seattle

Fontenbleu, Miami


Airline names most frequently heard:



Useless Air

Delta- the difference between the cost of your ticket and your service

Delta 2- don’t ever leave the airport

Delta 3- don’t expect the luggage to arrive

TACA- take a chance

American- Amwho?  Great airline if you’re a box.

TWA- T-Waaaaah

TWA2- Ten wobbly airplanes

TWA3- Thieves, Whores and Alcoholics

United- Un tied- the bubble gum and bailing wire is coming loose

Ignited- It’s only a “small” fire

the shuttle, if its Thursday it must be _Delta/USAIR/Trump/Leastern_____?

Continental- They don’t call it one pass for nothing!

Continental 2- No wonder Continental Can changed their name, I would too!

Sothleast- They just leave u out.

Morris Air- An airline run by a cat?? At least the milk is cold.

Reno Air- Just a roll of the dice

US AIR- You’re Still Allegheny In Reality- Bring back Piedmont and PSA!!!!

US Air 2-US Scair

Alaska Air- Ever wonder why the Eskimo is smiling?

Peninsula Air- guaranteed to land somewhere

Mark Air- X marks the spot

Ketchican- Catch me if you can

BOAC- British over all Carriers

El Al- Only your seatmate knows for sure

ATI- The name keeps changing to protect the guilty

Turk Air- I’ve seen buses less crowded; with pigs and chickens no less!


You try serving this garbage and see what kind of comments you get!

Baby-sitting is NOT in my job description, I don’t care how old the baby is!

Just another &^&*) day going to paradise, it would be nice if we didn’t have to put up with y’all.

VIP’s SUCK!!!!!!  With their EGO’s I don’t see how they can get through the door!

?Where do they get some of these people?

What the H*** am doing is this job; I should have stayed a nurse

I wouldn’t date somebody I met on here if they were the last man on earth!

This Galley was not designed by anybody that ever had to work in one!!

No, I don’t know what it is; I brought my lunch.

No, we don’t have any _____ (water of the day), we’re an airline not a yuppie restaurant.

I wouldn’t be a FA today if they paid me $100K a year. (One of the original TWA flight attendants)

I’m sorry sir this isn’t a Seven eleven it’s a 737.

I should have known something was wrong seven years ago, when I broke that mirror during my interview.

When I started this job 5 years ago, I had all my hair and it was black. (Very bald, white headed male flight attendant)

(heard while stepping up to the ticket counter)  Agent 1-Damn, that’s the fourth customers’ ticket I’ve screwed up today! I should have stayed in bed. Agent 2– Don’t worry by the time they figure it out it’ll be too late for them to come back and yell at you, they’ll just yell at the flight attendant.

If I get one more passenger like the last one, I’ll SCREAM!  So you better be nice, or you will never see your bags again! (Hopefully she was joking, either that or this was a Continental Service agent)

After chasing a drunk passenger out of First for the third time, he gave us the bird; one of the girls smiled very sweetly and told him, “That’s not part of your service sir, you are only in coach.”

Overheard at a United ESC office, ”If I get one more of these damn free tickets that don’t convert to a ticket, I’ll shoot the passenger and then go find and dismember the asshole that forgot to put the damn things in the system!”

I think Scott Adams used my flight for his Dilbert cartoons about flying, since I remember those passengers (later found out he did).

If I hear one more passenger say they get better service somewhere else, I’m going to tell them to get the ^%& off and go fly that airline!!!!!!

What DIA really stands for; Done in August??? Done in April? Do it Again!


TBT… — 29 Comments

  1. Some very funny observations and ‘Rulz of Da Road’ – thanks for posting them. As it happens, Wife and Daughter will be in the air this spring break (next week) while the son and I will be at home.

  2. That’s some significant experience speaking, right there. We’d do well to listen.

    40 years ago, Alaska Airlines was called Elastic Scarelines. And on a Seatle to Juneau back to Seattle flight, they sent my seabag to Skagway. Uniforms and civvies in that one, that time. Had to go out and buy new clothes. Took ’em three days to find the bag.

  3. Hey Old NFO;

    That was some funny stuff, here are a couple for you…”what is the difference between Stewardess and engines…?” Well the engines quit whining when you get to the gate…or “why do they have flight attendants on a flight..” well you can’t get a coke cooler down the aisle.

    Enjoy your flight…

  4. Not sure if it’s an FAA Reg, or due to a conspiracy with the hotels: The flight you’re on will be at least an hour late departing the gate, your connecting flight which is scheduled to lave at a nominal 55mins after your scheduled arrival will always depart on time.

  5. I drive when can. Flying isn’t what it used to be. It starts with the TSA agents and goes down hill from there.

  6. From a supervisor back in the ’70s: “Air France, the biggest non-scheduled airline in the world.”

    I’ve always thought that coach seats were a great democratic accomplishment: Everybody is uncomfortable… tall, short, whatever.

  7. “Flying isn’t what it used to be”

    No, it isn’t. It used to be regulated out the wazoo, and MUCH more expensive. There used to be a lot more market for inter-city busses, for that very reason. And the good thing about that was, with ticket prices so high, companies didn’t send mid-level employees across the country on a whim, to hear some drivel they could have heard on the (more expensive than now, but still cheaper) telephone.

    The thing is, people don’t want to pay what it would cost to get really good service. They want to pay the minimum they can get away with, and then have the nerve to be surprised when it sucks. You pays peanuts? You gets monkeys.

    I see that EVERYWHERE. Why aren’t there any really good stores selling DVDs? Stores with title depth and people who know about obscure films? Because people want to pay $15 for a new release, so they buy most of their DVDs at Walmart, and then are surprised when the store that used to have the good salespeople is gone when they want something Walmart wouldn’t stock in a million years.

    It applies to airlines, too. And since the people flying to meetings aren’t the ones buying the tickets (mostly) or paying the freight, it isn’t going to change any time soon.

    I haven’t flown in years. Since well before 9/11/2001. I have no intention of flying again, ever, in my life. At least not until our Lords and Masters in DC admit that the TSA is useless, since the next bunch of islamic idiots that tries to take over a plane full of Americans is going to get dogsled and then stuffed (in somewhat used condition) in the overhead luggage compartment.

    • You nailed it, with all six in the bull’s eye. Me, I’d cheerfully pay for the service if it were available. It isn’t, not at any price anywhere.

  8. You forgot to mention communicable disease. If you aren’t sick when you get on the plane, you will be when you get off. Whatever you caught is busy incubating and is probably immune to most antibiotics. As far as catching a disease goes, the only place you can do better is a hospital.

    C.S.P. Schofield nailed it clean. Adjusted for inflation, the cost of flying would about double, and thanks to various SJW groups the service would have declined. (What do you mean, you won’t hire fat, ugly women with bad attitudes and worse BO? We’re gonna sue!!!)

    The real advantages in the bad old days is that everyone who flew got dressed up in their Sunday best and had a nice time, even in coach. If you were in first class you got a real VIP experience, and the sexy stews were convincingly glad to see you. The whole flying experience was great from start to finish.

    Everyone was allowed to smoke, too, which never bothered me. I think there were four seats in the rear that were designated non-smoking.

    Airplane food was complementary, and although people made jokes about it, I found it to be good quality. The stewardesses performed culinary miracles in that little galley, believe me.

    Kids could get a look into the pilot’s cabin and talk to the pilots, as could anyone else. I always thanked the pilot for a safe flight after we landed. I would also make it a point to thank the stewardess whenever she brought me something.

    • Nowadays, with no smoking on flights, the airlines use far less (half?) the amount of fresh air that smoking flights used to. The rest is recirculated. Not surprisingly (unless you actually buy all the ‘secondhand smoke’ hysteria) this is less healthy than being on a smoking allowed flight used to be.

  9. The chance of a slender, attractive lady sitting next to you is inversely proportional to the length of the flight.

    The chance of a fat, smelly man sitting next to you is directly proportional to the length of the flight.

    The number of screaming babies on a flight is directly proportional to the need to get sleep or work done while traveling.

    No flight is ever delayed when you are not in a hurry.

  10. CSP/MJ- Can’t disagree at all!

    Bad- LOL, hadn’t heard that one!

    Gerry- Oh yeah! 14 hours next to a Paki that had eaten a BUNCH of Vindaloo… sigh…

  11. Or, you’re on a flight from Paris to LAX and circle over Colorado for 2 hrs. because some a$$hat (Obama) has Air Force One on the tarmac at LAX for a fundraiser!

  12. You land at Dallas Love Field and realize that your rental car is at Dallas Fort Worth!
    Corollary to sightseeing: The weather is perfect, you’ve got a window seat, but the putz in the middle seat wants the window shade pulled down so he can sleep off his hangover.

  13. It has been 20 years since I’ve set foot on a commercial airline. If I’m lucky, that trend will continue.

    When I did have to fly, I always made an effort to thank the flight crew for a good flight. It’s a cheap and easy way to put a smile on their faces after a long day.


  14. Once upon a time, I was flying to Honolulu to see the newest granddaughter. Of course, the flight from Huntsville was delayed, and I missed the non-stop Atlanta-Honolulu flight, and found myself on stand-by for an Atlanta-Los Angeles flight. Also on standby was a young Navy wife with a 15-18 month old baby, who was trying to get to Los Angeles for a connecting flight to San Diego, where her husband was waiting for them. Now, I was number 2 on the standby list, and she was number 8 or 9. So I tootled myself up to the ticket counter, and told the nice young man that I wanted to give her my spot on the standby list, and I’d take hers. Good G-d, you’d have thought I wanted him to perform an unnatural act with a camel! OK, give her my spot, and I’ll move to the end of the line. Pretty much the same reaction.
    Finally I lost it, and said “Junior, do you know where the security guys hang out?” He said he didn’t, and didn’t want to know. I said “You might want to call and give them a running start, cause I’m fixin’ to drag you over that counter, and whup the dogsh*t out of you!”

    He headed toward the back at a rate of knots, and pretty soon an older lady came out, and gave me the kind of look Grandma used to give me, when I’d really screwed up. I figured that what I’d done was about as bright as Pickette’s Charge, and braced myself.

    She said “Are you the one….?” I said “Yes ma’am, I’ll wait here for the cops.” She leaned over the counter, patted my hand, and said “Don’t worry, sugar, he provokes that reaction in a lot of folks. Now, what, exactly are you trying to do?” I explained what I had in mind, and she played on the computer for a bit, and finally said “Sir, if there’s an open seat on the LA flight, that young lady and her baby will be on it. I promise! Just please, don’t threaten my clerks any more!”

    Got really dusty in that terminal for a minute, and the young Navy wife made it to LA in time to catch her flight to San Diego!

    I made it to Honolulu eventually. Didn’t really mind that I was a day late.

  15. I am old, my first commercial flights were on DC-3 tail draggers in the early 60’s, unpressurized, noisy and lots of bouncing around but the seats were big and comfortable. Later traveling for business before deregulation a lot of flights would be about a third full, if you picked the right time of day, with pretty flight attendants who would come sit down and play cards and cut up just having fun.

    For years and years I used Southwest Airlines (cattle car air) which was easy because you bought your ticket from a machine in the lobby and then told the gate attendant your name which she recorded on a tape recorder. Lots of the planes used stairs and walking out to the plane after 4 pm there was a large trashcan full of beer and you were welcome to pick up one or two. I also remember Southwest would close the doors and start taxiing just as soon as the last passenger stepped on board. Of course the best thing about Southwest in those days were the uniforms for the Stews which were hot pants and boots and the early day crews were given stock and options which made the worth millions as the company grew.

    Now SW planes are well used and jammed full of fat people, kind of smelly with crying babies and usually old, fat, cranky flight attendants.

  16. Another one:
    If you are flying with small children and paid extra for confirmed seats together as a family, the airline’s computers WILL screw up and seat the children at least 20 rows away. You will NOT be informed of this change until you get your boarding passes at the gate. When you insist the airline fix this, the gate attendant WILL refuse to do anything until you produce your receipt ( apparently separating toddlers from their parents for 8 hours is an acceptable airline practice these days). Once the error is fixed, the gate attendant will NOT inform the other passengers affected OR the flight crew of the change, and you WILL have an argument all over again at least twice after boarding.

    That was the last time we flew American Airlines.

  17. Remember Allegheny (or Agony) airlines?

    Air France hates to use their air con. (You’d think they paid for the bleed air out of their own pocket) so dress lightly. And their food is over rated, even in business.

    I’ve always had good luck with Best Western Hotels…in Europe only. They are small, inexpensive boutique hotels in historic buildings over there.

  18. Flew from Portland to DFW. Had the two aisle seat. Everyone on board and I have the only open seat left and the flight attendant goes to close the door. But wait there is one more passenger and she headed straight for me. Oh, yeah she 450 pounds. Sits down, flips up the armrest and her thigh flows over mine. Ugh!!! As soon as we are leveled off I grabbed my book, went to the back of the plane and spent the entire flight standing in the back. When I had to go sit down for landing the lady thanked me profusely for not crowding her on such a long flight. I’m sure there was a look of amazement on my face. And babies they are always seated in my row. Never ever fails.

  19. The flip side of all of this comes in the occasional article I read of somebody nostalgic for the old days under regulation. They don’t see the one-step-up-from welfare families who are able to fly to see grandma because it costs like a bus used to. They miss the feeling of being The Jet Set (and most of the rat bastards were on expense accounts, so screw ’em). A good deal of the agony of air travel could be alleviated if companies would stop flying people to meetings that could take place on video conference, and if everybody admitted that TSA stood for Transcendetally Screwed–up Assholes and fired the whole boiling. Then we could let the airline industry as presently constituted go into fretful for five years or so, and see what we had.

    Maybe we wouldn’t have anything. Maybe in anything resembling an unsubsidized market passenger flying wouldn’t exist. Maybe we’d go back to trains.

    Come to think of it, Amtrak also sucks.


    • For fretful please read free-fall.


      Combination of fat fingers and a computer with opinions.

  20. I really enjoyed the PSA (Poor Sailors’ Airline) hot rod Electra. Initial acceleration for takeoff felt like the pilot would have pulled a wheelie if it was possible.

  21. Coming back from LA to Newark in about 1992 on American. Flew them enough that they put me in 1st class. (15-16 round-trips a year for about 6 years.) We’re up around 36,000 feet when the plane begins to corkscrew to the left and down. Seems we’re at full speed on a collision course with a military flight. After two tries on the intercom, where he sounds like the Swedish Chef, the co-pilot comes back to say we “won’t be in Sunday’s papers.” Then he goes back to try to calm down the screaming passengers in commercial class. The back of the plane vibrated and sounded as if it were falling off! Just one of many happy trips… Olde Force