I arrived in Chicago late this afternoon. It's nippier than in Los AngeIes. (About 15 degrees.) I’ve never quite understood the process for airlines when you make your reservation over the phone and want to book a seat. The American Airlines rep told me that there were no aisle seats, so she gave me a middle seat. “Are there any window seats?” I asked. There were. Why in the world she presumed I would prefer to be potentially squeezed between to other people than have a window seat, I have no idea. Nor do I know why she didn’t ask first.
But that wasn’t the odd part. When I got the email a day later that said I could pre-check in, I went through the process and when I got to the “Choose seats,” I almost passed it by, because I already had a seat. But, okay, I thought I might as well take a look. And not only were there aisle seats…there were plenty of them. It possible that people cancelled their reservation in the intervening not, but I doubt it, especially that many. Anyway, I changed my seat – and not only happily sat on the aisle, but with no one else in the row.
I know that over the years a great many people have commented on how insane it is that the in-flight safety instructions include detailed instructions on how to buckle a seat belt, including a close-up now in the video. I’m sure it has to do with some overly-paranoid lawyer not wanting to be fired for getting the airline sued. But if anyone every sued an airline for injury because they hadn’t been instructed on how to buckle a seatbelt, I suspect the case would be over the moment that claim was made in open court.
But related to this, something struck me today for the first time. When the safety video continued, and they got to the part about putting on a life vest, we’re simply told, “Attach the buckle…” and that’s it. No detailed instructions on how to life the latch and hold it while placing the buckle inside. I really wanted to know that, and feel lessened for not knowing. The best I can figure is that they assume we all learned how to connect a buckle at the beginning of the video.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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