24 years ago I was set up on a blind date. With an airline pilot-former Air Force captain. In my single days, I had a cousin who was a Navy fighter pilot and had come to visit me on leave and practically got us all arrested, drank every bit of my meager supply of booze, and scared off my girlfriends. I was NOT looking forward to this. But I was bored and didn’t have much else to do that Friday nite so I decided to meet whomever this was.
A year later we were married and living in suburban Atlanta. What was I thinking?
FLIGHT BENEFITS!!!!!!!!!!! Yippeeeee!!!!
Even if the uniform is all polyester and he wears a clip-on tie. Wow, soooo hot….
So, over the course of our married life, we have been able to travel to some pretty great places around the world. Even if we do stay in the airline discount places and not the Ritz. Besides-I consider a hotel with a door to the outside camping and I certainly won’t do that.
And the great part of this benefit is you usually get in the first class cabin space available. That is, until fares dropped, 9/11 tanked the airline industry, and it was cheaper to fly than take Greyhound.
The other benefit-or it could be a detriment, is that your child gets to fly anywhere too, and is eligible for first (space available) after the age of 8. So every time we have flown to Europe, 16 has flown in business class. Good or bad, it is a great perk.
But the funny thing is that our kids are so well-traveled these days, they have no idea what it is like to ride in a yellow 1976 Pontiac station wagon for 17 hours from New Jersey to Florida with two sisters whom you detest and a father who tells his “What, NO Green Beans?” story 10 times on the way.
I remember the times I begged my dad to stop over nite at South of the Border in South Carolina. For those of you who have traveled I-95 from Florida to the northeast, this is the mecca of tacky hotel. They have billboards for hundred of miles that say “Pedro Sez..Chili Today, Hot Tamale!!..Stay at South of the Border!” My family would tease me so much about this. So one time, we finally stayed there. It was a defining moment for me.
First of all, I won an argument. Second of all, the memories of walking through the giant painted sombrero that was the check in lobby was like walking into the Vatican. The amount of cheesy gift shops was astounding. The rooms had those striped Mexican blankets in them. Shag carpet. And my family could not stop laughing at me. I still get grief about it to this day. And I still like kitchy hotels–like the Excalibur in Vegas, but you won’t catch me dead in one. Unless I am the owner…….. And Holy Crap! Now SOTB has a new attraction, a reptile lagoon!
So snagging an airline pilot was a good move on my part. Except for the time I flew with him to San Francisco, and knowing I ‘d had copious amounts of coffee that morning, and knowing what that does to my system, he decided it would be funny to leave on the seat belt light for over 30 minutes climbing out of SFO on a clear morning. I will never forgive him for that.
Or the time 16 was 16 months old and coming home from Florida she was screaming on descent so I gave her a bottle, which prompted her large intestines to dump her innerds out on me through her pretty white stockings she had on. And the businessmen around me were looking at me with that “WTF is that smell?” look. And that was the first time I ever had the inkling to run up, open the plane door, and jump, or throw her out. Whatever…..
We take our kids on all of these glorious vacations. Disney, Europe, Carnival Cruises, NYC, even many sleepover camps have air conditioning in the cabins. I kid you not. Airline kids have it even better. 16 has been to Paris, Brussels, Germany (many times, I have a sister there), Dallas, Caymans, Jamaica, LA to see ‘The Ellen Show’, the Marriott 42nd St in Manhattan, and more.
I need to start a travel company that is called, “The Torture Travel Company For Kids”. All trips are car based, no fast food stops unless it is a Stuckey’s-type place. Other than that it is homemade turkey sandwiches in a cooler, they have to bring a book and one game-no electronics, no phones, no TV, or movies in the car, have to stay at a creepy hotel with a crappy pool for at least one night, and then stay at their grandparents place for a minimum of 3 nights with no eating out. That oughta fix ’em.
And mom and dad get a free weekend vacation at a Ritz if they survive it and don’t involve the police at anytime during the trip. That’s incentive!
It’s hard to justify a car trip when it’s easier and sometimes cheaper to fly. The only thing BC forgot to tell me was that it is standby. But, now with 25 years of service (and a plastic set of gold wings to prove it), we do get on more often than not. With the great unwashed. In coach.