I Get That Flighty Feeling

When David wrote that “the lines” had fallen to him ‘in pleasant places,’ he was obviously not talking about the airlines. Or haven’t you tried to make plane reservations lately?

My wife and I had to be in Los Angeles, so I phoned the travel agent to discover what flights were available and how much the trip would cost. In order to be on time for our meeting, she said we would have to leave at 5:30 A.M., change planes twice in Denver, and pay a figure that got higher the longer I talked with her. I think she had an adding machine attached to her computer.

“If you leave on a Tuesday,” she said in that consoling voice, “I can cut $50 off your fare. No—sorry! That rule applies only to conventioneers who use carry-on luggage. Let me see—” I broke in: “I can’t leave on a Tuesday. It has to be a Wednesday.”

“Is there any possibility you can get your firm to change the dates of the meeting? If you visit the World’s Fair en route, we give you $100 in play money to use as you please.”

“I don’t want to visit the World’s Fair! Suppose we leave the night before? What flights are available?”

“The night before—let me see. Oh, we have a dinner flight—no, sorry! That’s been canceled. If you and your wife can drive to Kansas City—”

“I don’t want to drive to Kansas City! I live miles from Kansas City! I want to fly to Los Angeles, spend one day there, and then fly home!”

“It’s too bad you can’t stay there a week. We have a fabulous plan that includes a visit to the Badlands of South Dakota as well as a tour of the Disneyland parking lot. It’s great for people who watch for license plates.”

Trying to lift the conversation to a higher plane, I asked, “Just tell me what flights are available on Wednesday, what they cost, and ...

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