Final Word

By Jeff Girod

1
Posted May 23, 2013 in News
JeffGirodFlying somewhere? Don’t forget your knife.

The “friendly skies” have gotten a little stabbier as the Transportation Security Administration considers lifting the ban to allow pocketknives on planes.

To the shock of nobody anywhere, 90 percent of air travelers don’t want the TSA to lift the knife ban, according to a survey commissioned by the Association of Professional Flight Attendants.

The knife ban has been in place since 9/11, but the TSA announced in March that it’s considering allowing passengers to begin boarding planes with small pocketknives — as well as golf clubs, hockey sticks and novelty bats. (Finally I can take that Kauai vacation with my novelty bat!)

Who exactly is getting outraged that you can’t take a knife on an airplane? What knife-related emergency are you anticipating?

I’ve never encountered a tray table, luggage tag or neck pillow that required me to simulate a stabbing motion. Though, granted, I have been offered a few in-flight movies starring Matthew McConaughey that made me want to saw off my seat belt.

Flight attendants have been the most outspoken against the TSA’s idea to permit knives on planes. Gee, ya think? Something about not wanting to turn their spines toward 300 potentially armed strangers for the sake of a bag of mini pretzels . . .

Flight attendants have protested at airports from Charlotte to Houston. It seems like everybody is mad about air travel, even the employees. Heck, I’m mad, too! (Except my list of grievances won’t fit on a picket sign.)

See, I appreciate that whenever we board a plane outbound from Ontario that we become our own little cooperative society—a microcosm of order and civility divided by coach and first class. But as a flight attendant, the moment the fuselage door closes, it doesn’t deputize you to become a supremely empowered seat thwapper, reigning down your polyester hook-button salted peanut death on anyone whose seat isn’t at its full and upright position.

It’s four friggin‘ inches. I “reclined” more back at the airport, walking through the metal detector and getting my cavities searched.

And let’s not kid ourselves, Dorothy. Almost all of the FAA instructions we’re expected to follow as passengers? They’re cabin pressurized bullshit.

Oh I understand the big ones: Passengers should patiently wait our turns in line. Pretend like we’re listening as they point out the emergency exits. And don’t lose our ever-lovin‘ crap, stand up and start yelling “Bomb.”

(Never mind getting arrested by an air marshal. After 9/11, that little stunt will get you punched in the throat by 299 other travelers. We’ll start a conga train of pain before you stutter out the “B-.”)

A lot of in-flight rules seem like lies that flight attendants say just to see if we’ll do them. How about the part where nobody is allowed to use cell phones during the entire trip—or so much as a calculator watch during take off or landing?

Never mind that most FAA regulations were written in the 1920s when, before the plane could actually clear the runway, the pilot had to climb out of the cockpit and twist the propeller while the copilot yelled, “Contact!”

Everything on the damned plane now is “electronic”—from the coffee machine to the in-seat DVD player that gouges you $9.95 to watch a tiny, shaky version of Marley & Me.

Your iPhone is not going to crash a 747 mid-flight because the pilot and half of the crew are updating their Facebook statuses on their iPhones, when instead they should be checking the wings for ice. Or, at the very least, checking my plastic thimble cup for ginger ale.

Speaking of beverages: How about an FAA regulation mandating that when I ask for a soda or even juice, someone hands me a full-sized, big boy bottle? Because I’m paying big boy prices—even to fly the red eye.

And if airlines can spend millions of dollars designing jet engines to soar thousands of miles, why can’t they design the aisles six inches wider so my knee doesn’t get clipped whenever the salesman in 10-C wants a Bloody Mary?

Keep pocketknives off planes. Permanently.

But how about just one person to pilot the TSA who’s sharper than a corkscrew?

Contact Jeff Girod at finalword@ieweekly.com.


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