After a nice weekend in San Francisco for Fleet Week, I took a redeye last night from San Francisco to Washington and then continued to Tampa. While I do well over 200 domestic segments a year, it really never gets old. No two flights are the same, that’s for sure.
The excitement started when I had a run in with “Team SFO” (SFO’s version of the TSA). I was fourth in line at the x-ray belt, and the “Team SFO” agent told me I needed to take off my shoes. I responded that I knew that, but that I wanted to wait till I was next in line, given that the floor looked particularly dirty. Then he told me I needed to take off my sweater. Interesting timing, because the two people going through the walk through metal detector at that point had similar sweaters on, which I mentioned to him. He said “you need to take it off or you’ll get additional screening.” I said “fine, I’ll take the additional screening then.” He went over to the agent standing on the other side of the walk through metal detector, as I smirked at him (given that he wasn’t being very quiet about what he was saying). I got secondary, but it was simple enough.
Anyway, I get to the departure gate for my San Francisco to Washington redeye. My upgrade cleared last minute, and I was assigned 1B, which is usually a curse. The gate agent announced no less than three times that “there are 31 1K’s and 26 Premier Executive members on this flight.”
As soon as I got down the jet bridge, the flight attendant told the 40 of us (or so) that they can’t board us yet since the cleaners hadn’t been aboard yet. About ten minutes later we were allowed to board. As it turned out the purser was an excellent flight attendant I had flown with before. She recognized me from a flight six months ago, so it was a great flight. Unfortunately that meant no sleep for me, but it worked out since I got to finish “Highest Duty” and talk to the excellent purser for a while.
Then came the Washington to Tampa flight. After not getting a minute of sleep I was dead tired. I sat down in 11C and dozed off immediately. It’s tough to get any “real” sleep in coach seats, so occasionally my eyes opened. As boarding finished up a guy settled into 11A, the window seat, and said to me “how are you?” I responded “fine, thanks, how about you?” and he said “good.” That was that. I literally dozed off for the whole flight, and my eyes occasionally opened for just a few seconds. Maybe an hour into the flight as he catches me with an eye open, he asks me what time it was. I was half asleep, but I told him the time. He then asked how much longer till we land. I said it would be about an hour. Fair enough.
Then we begin our descent, and I’m still trying to sleep. As my eyes open up for just a second, the guy says to me “I might need a pair of sunglasses now that I’m in the Sunshine State.” Uhm, ok. I was tempted to respond “I might need some earplugs now that…” I didn’t want to be rude, so instead responded half asleep “So you’re not from here?” Then I had the privilege of hearing his life story.
Other than the normal “so, headed home?” conversation starter, that was among the worst I’ve heard (other than the lady that had to tell me how loose her daughter was on a flight a few months back).
It never gets old…. 😀