Monday, April 30, 2012

Overhead Bins: All By Yourself!

Being a news junkie and all, I read all sorts of stuff besides The New York Times. You really can get a balanced list thanks to the internet and I take full advantage of that. Thanks to the internet, I am a regular over at The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal,  The London Telegraph, Ha'Artez and even Al Jazeera. Clearly, I don't agree with everything in those sheets, but it does help to know what the opposition is thinking.  

Cindy Adams
But I have a confession: I am a devotee of The New York Post. Don't ask me to explain it, other than my father loooovvves The NYP and its slightly right of Attila The Hun politics. I, however, am more of a Page Six kinda girl, although these days wannabe glamorazzi and celebutards are beyond me. (I loved Liz Smith and was devastated when they canned her a few years ago but you can find her in a much better place these days: WoW.) My morning coffee, however, was reserved for Cindy Adams. I always thought Cindy Adams was sharp, funny, witty, urbane...all those New York things I miss being out here in flyover land. At 82, she's amazing. She travels, she writes, she shops, she's everywhere...but she's also turned mean. 

It started a while back with the Duchess of York. And then, for reasons I cannot fathom, she went off on then Kate Middleton, now Duchess of Cambridge, and her family. She wrote things that were not nice in the worst possible way. And I'd pretty much stopped reading her column because I don't like mean. 

But I happened to catch her column on Friday...probably because it was about travel, Skies not so friendly. About recent travel experiences, she ranted about flight attendants who would not pick up her carry-on luggage and hoist it into the overhead bin. 

                          This week I made two United flights. To San Jose, Costa Rica, and back. 
                            Despite my difficulty, male cabin attendants ignored my hand-luggage problem. 
                            Each issued the precise phraseology: “I have a bad back.” Neither expanded 
                            that terse statement. Gentlemen passengers came to my rescue.

                            Three crewmen on different flights suffering identically? Explaining the ailment
                             identically? Either geriatric stewards need be retired or they’ve agreed: “Screw 
                             this. We’re not luggage schleppers.”

She went on to describe other adventures on  the road that  made her sound like the original poster child for the ugly American. But it was that luggage thing that got my bungies in a knot. 

Being on the business travel side of the travel business, I rarely side with the airlines but this time, I felt for every person on that plane who had to deal with Madame Adams and her carry on bags. And my professional take on this is Lady, if you can't manage yer own luggage, check it.

Now, for the record, I think charging for luggage is an outrage. You are already paying exorbitant amounts to sit squashed in a sardine can and now, the airlines are charging you for a virtual seat for your bag...unless you wish to risk life and limb of your fellow sardines by bringing your anvil sample case into the cabin. I've watched those things being swung over your head like a kapporah chicken only to be shoved into a bin where the attendant has to slam the door three or four times to make sure that catch catches, thereby preventing said anvil from tumbling out during takeoff.  The next excitement occurs at the end of the flight as everyone crams into the foot wide aisle to get the hell off the plane...but not before attempting to decapitate the nearest unsuspecting person when removing the anvil from the overhead bin.

I can see why flight attendants say they have bad backs to avoid doing this for every little old person who comes aboard schlepping a box o'bricks for the grandchildren, expecting someone else will risk injury to hoist it into the bin. I'm pretty sure enough of them have been hurt doing that to justify saying, "No, I am unable to assist." It might be cheaper to schlep the thing on board, but really, relying on the kindness of strangers?  If you can schlep it through the airport, you should be able to lift it yourself. 

So far, no one's been killed by an anvil falling out of the overhead bin, but eventually it will happen. And when the airline gets sued for huge amounts of cash due to reckless endangerment, attractive nuisance, and wrongful death, then, maybe then, they will rethink this philosophy. 

Once upon a time on Swiss Air

Or, they might decide it's more cost effective to ban carry-on luggage altogether and change those overhead bins into "top berth" sleeper seats. It's not like it's not been done before.

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Planes are not the only way to travel. 
There are trains, and sometimes, that's a great alternative. 


  1. "got my bungies in a knot" Now, that's a great phrase.


  2. Where are you getting all those bungies?

    Most airlines will check heavier bags at the gangway for free. Psht, don't tell anyone how to avoid the charge.

  3. Perdie, you might find this interesting...

    According to Urban Dictionary, the original expression was "got my BDS in a knot" but you know what happens to these things over time. This later became shortened to "got my 'BeeDees' in a knot" but then "BeeDees" utimately amorphed into "Bungies" when "the street" got ahold of the expression, mostly since no one on the street knew what the heck BeeDees were.


    1. Surely, you must be kidding with me.


  4. Perdie, don't get your BeeDees in a knot... sometimes truth is stanger than fiction. Besides, the best source of 100% fact-based information is always internet blogs.

    1. The UK expression ......which I hate..... is, "Don't get your knickers (underwear) into a knot"

  5. Actually, it's "knickers in a twist."
    And the original was BVDs, not BD's. (BVD was a brand of underwear.)
    As for Cindy Adams: She has ALWAYS been mean. Snarky, nasty, snotty. She toned down for a time, early in her NYP tenure - twas clear she'd been given marching orders. Too big and abrupt a change. It made her more readable, and I began to enjoy her columns.
    Looks like she's back to her old tricks.
    As of 20 years ago, she was also face-lifted to within an inch of her life. I had run into her on the UES - helped her pick up a bunch of papers she'd dropped. Didn't realize it was her initially, till I got a good look at her face close up. eeeee! (She was also quite rude toward me for helping her, but that's another story.)

    1. hey! unfair! I want to hear the 'nother story! (send me an email!)

  6. Having worked for years at an airline that had commuter jets but no conveyor belts(meaning everything had to be lifted up to shoulder height or higher loading the cargo bin), I wanted a policy of "Can you lift your bag this high? Then neither can we!"