Re: I guess "priceless".

1

I suspect this is a fictional short story.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 3:07 PM
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Yes, it is entirely fictional, I'm sure.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 3:08 PM
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I'm not sure why this punched me so hard - I think it was seeing my acquaintance find comfort in it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 3:09 PM
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Ripped from the headlines.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 3:09 PM
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I kind of went off in her comments' section about why the narrator is an asshole. But she said that it made her cry that all of her positive chat and jokes and kindness could actually turn someone's heart.

There's nothing remarkable about this, just a very abject display of my friend's self-loathing over weight, and I got all angry on her behalf.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 3:11 PM
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I'm skeptical that that's real. Anyone have a link to the original?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 3:12 PM
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Weiner-pwned, I see.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 3:12 PM
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People make jokes to entertain other people?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 3:13 PM
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I guess I'm confused. You're angry that the narrator in a fictional short story is an asshole?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 3:13 PM
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I'm angry that my friend is so beaten down by fat-hatred that she drew significant comfort from this story.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 3:14 PM
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Oh good, a flash flood watch. Heavy rains expected. How novel.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 3:17 PM
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hate hate hate


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 3:17 PM
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I'm still not sure how to square the circle of deploring societal fatness without stigmatizing individuals of girth. I mean, even if you never say an unkind word, as a society we have to acknowledge and address the problem.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 3:20 PM
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11 Is it a once in a thousand year event?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 3:21 PM
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I think this is the original.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 3:22 PM
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Oh, maybe that's not the original. It has the author's name, though.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 3:24 PM
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Weiner-pwned, I see.

Nice.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 3:24 PM
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13: Oh come on. It's not hard at all: focus on the societal issues that lead to people being overweight and pay attention to the myriad ways in which *it's not individuals' fault* that they're fat. There's zero required overlap between the two.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 3:24 PM
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15: in the comments, that blogger refers to "the author," as if it is not him.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 3:25 PM
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Plot twist: the author is a woman.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 3:27 PM
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It's not hard at all

It's not hard not to be a dick about it, but overweight people are still going to get the "fat is bad" message pretty clearly.

The attributed author of that piece is a woman and a short story writer.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 3:28 PM
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Huh! I should write a story about how Chong Sheau Ching ended up being the most beautiful woman I'd ever met, when first I thought she was a man and an asshole.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 3:29 PM
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Did she turn out to be an asshole despite her beauty?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 3:55 PM
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I don't mind sitting next to fat people on the plane, but sitting next to extroverts is a problem.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 4:04 PM
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This story raises unreasonable expectations. Everybody I sit next to on a plane who is fat is a thirty-something guy flying to service or to sell some kind of technology product to somebody.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 4:08 PM
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It's not hard not to be a dick about it, but overweight people are still going to get the "fat is bad" message pretty clearly.

If you put the focus on changing society so that it's easier for people to move more throughout the course of their day, and easier for them to get healthy food, and pay more attention to their actual health outcomes rather than "OMG YOU'RE FAT YOU'RE GONNA DIE" I'd guess that the vast majority won't actually care about the "fat is bad" message.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 4:20 PM
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I don't mind sitting next to fat people on the plane, but sitting next to extroverts is a problem.

This. Please don't ask me to talk to a stranger on an airplane for 6 hours. Shudder.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 4:21 PM
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We've just booked a flight for the first time in 15 years, since before 9/11.

Rip Van Winkle in the sky.

What will be different?


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 4:46 PM
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What will be different?

They make you take your pants off to go through the security scanner now. You may find it easier just to take your pants off before getting into line.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 4:51 PM
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26: I'll disagree and say that the problem is harder because the message has to be "excess fat is bad"*, and that's really hard to hear as different than "fat people are bad."

*Being overweight isn't so much of a problem, but the risks of heart disease/diabetes increase at obese+ BMIs.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 4:52 PM
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You'll have to pay for any snacks and you'll have less legroom. And security, obviously.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 4:52 PM
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28: Only ticketed passengers can go to the gate.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 4:55 PM
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They will charge you out the wazoo for excess luggage. Excess luggage, in some cases, meaning "more than one bag."


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 5:06 PM
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Pwned by several of the foregoing, but: Flying is generally more of a hassle than it was 15 years ago, or perhaps I'm just older and grumpier. More time at the airport, more time waiting in line (checking bags, at security). Seems like people haul around more carry-on luggage as the airlines charge for checked bags. I don't think the planes fly much faster...Print your boarding passes at home beforehand to save a step at the airport.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 5:15 PM
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Please don't ask me to talk to a stranger on an airplane for 6 hours.

No kidding. Headphones work pretty well for warding that off. Look, chatty person, I barely talk to my wife and kids because they never ever stop talking and I have just given up trying to get a word in edgewise. Please grant me this tiny morsel of quiet time. It's the only remaining pleasant aspect of air travel.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 5:16 PM
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To our significant surprise, my aunt in her seventies sat next to a nice fellow on the plane. They chatted the whole time, went out to dinner after. They appear to be taking up together, for a Paris/Los Angeles relationship. I'm so pleased! But that story isn't enough to make me willing to talk to the person sitting next to me.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 5:22 PM
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Please grant me this tiny morsel of quiet time.

Ah, quiet time. That reminds me of another nice new aspect of flying: some airlines make you spend five or ten minutes watching commercials.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 5:24 PM
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28: They don't open boxes for you anymore, so you'll have to bring your own means.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 5:32 PM
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idp, Fox news blaring from a thousand TVs in the airport.

Very stratified boarding procedure. It's not based on row any more, but how cool you are. (ie, how much you paid them for this flight, and how many flights you've taken in the last year.)

All planes are full all the time. OK, not quite, but fuller than they used to be. More often then not, they're asking for volunteers.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 5:36 PM
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In short, a hellscape.

You folks will be unsurprised to learn that I talk to fellow passengers more often than not.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 5:38 PM
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Even in steerage.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 5:38 PM
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This. Please don't ask me to talk to a stranger on an airplane for 6 hours. Shudder.

Seriously. The overweight woman in the OP story is the real asshole. How many clear signals did the narrator give that he/she didn't want to talk? All of which were ignored.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 5:46 PM
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39: That is, even if your seat is, like, 8a, you'll board behind Diamond Sparkle Class, Premier Diamond Class, Daily Diamond, Gold Plus, Gold Value, Silver Stars, etc - there's about ten million different classes of passengers and if you don't fly often you will be dead last. (I was the only person in my dead last boarding class once last year, literally the last person allowed to board.) You may think "why does this matter if I have a seat", but now because of the checked bag fees everyone brings a ginormous carryon, which means that space in the overhead bins is at a total premium, and if you board last you may not get any and you'll need to gate check your bags, or else you'll need to put your bag in the overhead bin at, like, the opposite end of the plane and wait until everyone else has deplaned to be able to get it. Basically, it's a huge pain.

Also, seats are smaller than they used to be - not by a ton, and I'm no skinny minnie and fit fine, but if you're tall it's not that great.

Remember that if you want water on the flight, you'll need to buy it after you get through security and it will cost a bazillion gajillion dollars.

If you are on a not-too-crowded flight, you can sometimes buy your way into an earlier boarding class. I have been known to do this, because I am a terrible human.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 5:47 PM
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idp is tall -- so it's critical that you not bring much carry-on if you can avoid it. Smaller people have room under the seat in front of them, but I don't have much at all.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 5:51 PM
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37, 39.1 & 2 I hate all of those bthings. I'm sitting in the Arrakis International Airport this very moment waiting for the counter to open so I can check in. Berlin by way of Istanbul. Original flight have me an hour to connect but that was cancelled and pushed back to 40 minutes which wasn't enough time so now I have a 5 hour wait in Istanbul Airport which is not enough time to actually leave and see a bit of that beautiful city.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 5:52 PM
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37, 39.1 & 2 I hate all of those bthings. I'm sitting in the Arrakis International Airport this very moment waiting for the counter to open so I can check in. Berlin by way of Istanbul. Original flight have me an hour to connect but that was cancelled and pushed back to 40 minutes which wasn't enough time so now I have a 5 hour wait in Istanbul Airport which is not enough time to actually leave and see a bit of that beautiful city.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 5:52 PM
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Sorry for the stupid typos and double posting.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 5:55 PM
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More often then not, they're asking for volunteers.
I heard they were cutting back on crew salaries but this seems a little dangerous.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 5:59 PM
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Remember that if you want water on the flight, you'll need to buy it after you get through security and it will cost a bazillion gajillion dollars.

OTOH, now that they don't give you free food except on transatlantic flights, nobody bats an eyelash if you bring food on. And you can bring outside food through security. Last time I came back from Austin, I had a pound each of brisket and smoked sausage*, some of which I ate on the plane.

Oh, and bring a refillable water bottle; there are fountains, and you may be able to swing ice. My sister has a cool collapsible bottle bag thing that's perfect, as it takes up virtually no space when empty.

*Railroad BBQ in Kyle. OH NO! It's now something called Down South Railhouse. Shit! I ate at no fewer than 6, and probably more like 8, BBQ places during my visits, and that one had the best brisket and sausage.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 5:59 PM
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I've never flown on an airline that doesn't give you water and soft drinks for free. Some still give you snacks free.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 6:34 PM
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50 is right. What shitty airlines are you people on?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 6:42 PM
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I like to be early but this is ridiculous. 2 hour wait at the gate. At least im sitting on my ass with a cup of coffee. C'mon you reprobates, entertain me.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 6:42 PM
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I am pretty outgoing but just about never ever chat with strangers on planes. Could be a woman traveling alone thing. I will though go out of my way to amuse small infants on planes as playing extended peekaboo with a baby seated three rows up is basically an easy way to stoke up massive amounts of excellent karma. I have been comped alcohol several times for service to all fellow passengers by baby amusement duties.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 6:45 PM
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I think Taki Theodoracopulos discourages conversation on airplanes by reading Mein Kampf, but Knausgaard has ruined that device for a while.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 7:01 PM
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In a couple of weeks I will accompany two young children (one 3yo, one soon-to-be-5yo) as they travel for the first time on an airplane. Still going to be better than chatting with a stranger.


Posted by: R. rubrum | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 7:10 PM
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I have been on at least 2,000 commercial flights in my lifetime, and I can remember precisely three interesting conversations i had with strangers on board. That's out of maybe 100 times that I have exchanged more than pleasantries with my seatmates, usually because they missed or disregarded my "do not talk to me" vibes. Two of the three interesting conversations were on international flights, and none was in economy class.


Posted by: Salty Hamhocks | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 7:11 PM
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52: I hope you will be able to be less peremptory when you've arrived!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 7:20 PM
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....not that premium cabin passengers are any more interesting on average. The opposite may be more nearly true. But the setting is more auspicious for conversation.


Posted by: Salty Hamhocks | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 7:21 PM
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When I was a kid my brother and I as unaccompanied minors sat next to a guy who said he played Spider Man on the Electric Company. I didn't watch that show so didn't know if they even had a Spider Man.
I took Acela for the first time last month and the guy next to me kept talking to me, in the quiet car no less. I was crunching some numbers for work on my computer and he asked what it was and was very exited it was cancer research. I think non-scientists have no idea about the amount of drudge work that goes on while researching cures for Your Favorite Disease.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 7:23 PM
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We are planning major travel next summer with many kids. It's going to be like $8k just for airfare. After daycare, the biggest kid expense is if you want to take them anywhere interesting.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 7:26 PM
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I read 59 with the expectation that it would end with "And then I realized: it was the same guy!"


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 7:32 PM
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And he also told me about an eclectic web magazine I should check out.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 7:34 PM
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52: there's a book face group entirely for people in airports who want to find someone to dance with. Looks like mostly tango and swing.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 8:32 PM
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After daycare, the biggest kid expense is if you want to take them anywhere interesting.

I guess it depends on what you consider interesting but a big part of the appeal of this city is the number of national parks and monuments and such within a few hours drive.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 8:37 PM
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63 I'd dance but I've just been seated for my first leg.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 8:37 PM
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Seats are still big enough for two legs. It's the balls that are short of space.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 8:41 PM
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I only talk to attractive women ever on planes. It doesn't happen often, but it's very nice when it does. I've probably mentioned every instance here over the years, so...archives.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 8:42 PM
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God, I hadn't really thought about it but small talk with strangers is so blase now. Airport chat is nothing compared with trying to talk someone into admitting a felony.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 8:52 PM
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You could spice it up by combining the two.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 9:03 PM
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My favorite thing about this is how he only begins to see her as something more than a fat lady once she acknowledges her fatlady-ness and implies that it's really gross and shameful.


Posted by: Trivers | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 9:04 PM
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69: If you're sitting around on an apt or room at the right place there might be some fun to be had by asking every person who walks by "so, have you got those warrants taken care of?" and noting the ridiculously high rate of responses along the lines of "I'm going in on Monday".


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 9:24 PM
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Plan now for your long Istanbul layover, then... Extra points for the Charleston to anything but the obvious song.

I am amusing mysrlf with two felicitous narratives, one in which you have a light headedly perfect dance and coffee with a stranger, which is a practice or prefiguring of the knottier, deeper, delightful visit with your Berlin friend*; and the Wodehouse version which is just like the first but the stranger is your friend's niece.

* nickname needed!


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 10:35 PM
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God, I hadn't really thought about it but small talk with strangers is so blase now. Airport chat is nothing compared with trying to talk someone into admitting a felony.

As a layperson, I can't believe how readily people will admit to felonies. Dude, I am a stranger. You are telling me stuff that a) I don't want to know and b) you really shouldn't be admitting to. Where is your sense of self-preservation?

Also, I think of myself as a general grouch and curmudgeon, and yet this thread is surprising me. In my lifetime I have had far, far more pleasant conversations with strangers on planes than unpleasant ones.*

*Maybe I'm the unpleasant one. Although not admitting to felonies.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 10:46 PM
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I'm still not sure how to square the circle of deploring societal fatness without stigmatizing individuals of girth.

I have to admit that my personal way of squaring this circle is to rate "societal fatness" way, way down on the list of social problems I give a shit about, below "certain pretty species of rare animal may become extinct," "television is killing the novel," "soft pressure to conceal my nipples," and "tech money is sloshing around Portland." There may be social problems I care less about than the obesity epidemic. Let me think.

(To be clear, there are related issues I do regard as serious, i.e. malnutrition, food deserts, grain subsidies that cause harm -- but "people are fat all over the place" is a big aesthetic problem for some that transitions seamlessly into an epidemiological concern, and I just can't get there. I don't have the aesthetic objection.)


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 10:58 PM
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Also, 74.1 is definitely my solution.

And also thinking about making sure there are healthier options available when I do event planning. The folks in the public health world are better at this than any other field I deal with. Can't believe the amount of really, really deeply unhealthy foods I still get at conferences.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 11- 5-15 11:00 PM
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72.2 & 3 She's not from Berlin we're just meeting there. Not is she German. She's actually from a nearby Sietch or planet like Arrakis (not the evil large neighbor though) maybe an hour away from me by plane. She's the true Chani though I guess that was kind of taken by that earlier French/Lebanese mixed signals one.

I'm in a Starbucks (!) in the Istanbul Airport and I'm so annoyed I paid for this mobile passport thing from my Arrakis cell phone provider, activated it last night and everything, but it doesn't work. I think it's supposed to automatically connect to a network but there's nothing. I'm so pissed. Now I have 2 hours of free internet by scanning my boarding pass and thats it.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 2:43 AM
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Nor is she German. Autocorrect doesn't recognize "nor" as a word.

Less than 2 hours of internet and I'll spend half of it on Unfogged.



Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 2:46 AM
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Not that I'm in the market right now but if you want to chat up friendly attractive women you could do worse than sitting in the Starbucks (!) by the boarding pass scanner having already gone through the arduous and arcane procedure of using it to get the pin code for the WiFi connection.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 2:53 AM
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Berlin by way of Istanbul.

Is one of those flights that should be on a vintage prop plane, with a visual effect [used in the Indiana Jones moves] of a moving red line on a map. Ideally some fez-wearing dudes, and a couple of sinister looking Germanic types on the plane.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 2:53 AM
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Sinister looking Germanic types trying to figure out how to use the pin code generator to get 2 free hours of WiFi.

Mobile situation sorted. It just took forever for my home provider to come through (and then it tells me I have to select a Turkish network manually and make sure it's on one of their partners).


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 3:41 AM
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Please don't ask me to talk to a stranger on an airplane for 6 hours.

This is why you need to have invented your own new religion, like Hubbard. Nobody expects you to believe in it, but it serves to shut up people who talk to you in spaces you can't escape from. Plus if they're really dumb you might make a few bucks.

50. I have been told this about American on internal flights. I would be very happy to learn that it's a slander.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 5:21 AM
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I flew American three weeks ago and they had free drinks. No snacks, JetBlue is still better there. Also American is still the crappy one TV per five rows and you're all watching the same crappy made-for-plane programming we choose.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 5:32 AM
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Drinks is fine. Just a two hour hop. Also, fuck TV, I have a kindle.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 5:47 AM
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If you fly Southwest, there's no TVs. At least not the ones I take.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 6:08 AM
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Once a kid who was seated next to me on a plane asked to borrow my kindle. He was really disappointed when he discovered it was nothing like an iPad.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 6:28 AM
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Won't somebody think of the children.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 6:33 AM
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Of the airlines I've flown recently, I think American is the worst. They seem to have absorbed a lot of shittyness when they bought US Air.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 6:39 AM
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Although Southwest is its own kind of shitty if you are travelling with a family. The stress of "pick your own seating, but, fuck you, you're boarding last" is a problem when "my wife and I would like to sit next to our child please" is an actual concern. Only fly Southwest if you are flying alone.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 6:42 AM
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Great. My next flight is book on them. I must have flown them at some point before, but it's been decades.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 6:42 AM
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63: I hope they mean dancing right there in the airport? Imagine how much you'd cheer up the travelling muggles and freak out the authority figures.

The other day I was on a plane and someone in front of me kicked off the most ridiculous spat about the person in front reclining their seat. As in, flight attendants were summoned to get her to stop pounding on the seat back with her fists and shouting at my partner, behind her, to recline *hers* to make room.

There are two or three rounds of this before they suggest she moves to an exit row. She refuses. The other lot should move! This is a grown adult, apparently sober, at nine o'clock in the morning.

Fat American in front calls her a bitch. It gets worse. F/A reappears and offers a move to a seat in business class, if only she stops with the yelling and hammering on the seat backs. This is turned down as well. Eventually bitch guy offers to accept the upgrade and moves. (You win at passive-aggressive!) Quiet returns.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 7:00 AM
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Wait a minute, on Southwest, if you have small children, you can board after the first group boards, when there are plenty of seats. And boarding order is determined by whether you paid for early boarding or when you checked in, so if you're worried about it, you can check in precisely 24 hours before your flight and get earlier boarding. It's really not bad.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 7:00 AM
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Back when I lived in Cleveland, I used to fly Continental all the time, since Cleveland was one of their hubs. When they merged with United, the increased shittyness was massively and immediately apparent. So much so that I was really surprised.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 7:03 AM
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rate "societal fatness" way, way down on the list of social problems I give a shit about

My perspective might be skewed by how much of wife's day is spent helping people deal with the consequences of their obesity (it's really bad for you!), and no one is obligated to care, but it is a serious problem.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 7:04 AM
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That's what I do. I set an alarm and check-in exactly 24 hours ahead now that I don't have a young enough kid to get family boarding. The only problem comes when you have a flight cancel and you get re-routed. Some guy once did not want to move to get me and my son adjoining seats when that happened to us once. The flight attendant guilted him. That was the flight my son vomited on, so really he came out ahead.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 7:05 AM
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94 to 91.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 7:05 AM
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96

One thing that's been happening a lot recently is getting randomly awarded TSA Pre-check status. No removing your shoes, belts, etc., keep laptop in bag, straight-up only-a-metal-detector security. It's like a living in the pre-9/11 world. Every time I get it it makes me say "Damn, I'm gonna pay the $80 and get this All The Time." I haven't done it yet due to congenital laziness.

I'm undecided whether the TSA does this as effectively a commercial for Pre-Check or if it's because secretly they have come to agree that their current security regimen is useless and makes everyone hate them.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 7:07 AM
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92: Mergers and buyouts always making things worse. "Shittiness" is just another word for "profitability."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 7:07 AM
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Seated for Berlin. And fuck everyone who takes two fucking carry ons . I have a backpack which won't really fully fit under my seat because there's a bit of electrical equipment housing there. At least im not seated next to the dude with half a scalp of bleeding encrusted head wound who was in line ahead of me. It looked like it was stippled and I couldn't tell if it was some rad body mod or the result of cranial surgery.

And we were supposed to take off at the time we started boarding.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 7:12 AM
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Seated for Berlin. And fuck everyone who takes two fucking carry ons . I have a backpack which won't really fully fit under my seat because there's a bit of electrical equipment housing there. At least im not seated next to the dude with half a scalp of bleeding encrusted head wound who was in line ahead of me. It looked like it was stippled and I couldn't tell if it was some rad body mod or the result of cranial surgery.

And we were supposed to take off at the time we started boarding.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 7:12 AM
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87. I hear no good of them, but they go where I have to go.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 7:13 AM
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98: Everything is turning up treppaning.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 7:14 AM
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Posted twice. Once for each of all y'all carry one. Fuckers.

(Autocorect changed "fuckers" to "Vickers". If only I had one.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 7:15 AM
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Carry ons not carry one. JFC.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 7:16 AM
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"Carry one my wayward son. There'll be peace with a gun."


Posted by: Opinionated Kansas Song After They Joined The NRA | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 7:17 AM
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The main problem with U.S. domestic flights is the lack of a direct connection from Pittsburgh (or Philadelphia) to any Nebraska airports. As a society, we need to consider the huge amount of time we waste because of that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 7:38 AM
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The link Moby posted in 86 is delightful, especially because of the likelihood that Scaife was spending a lot of that money on what turned out to be completely fruitless (and baseless) accusations and rumor mongering about the Clintons.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 7:38 AM
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94- This is the one area I've personally observed Europeans to be bigger assholes than Americans. We were on a flight from LHR to Amsterdam, so pretty short, rows of 2+2 seats but because of something about connecting from a BOS-LHR flight we couldn't reserve seats before arrival in London and there were no contiguous seats left. We were flying with a 2 and 4 year old so they required their own seats but far too young to be seated on opposite ends of the plane from us. Not a single fucking Brit would agree to trade seats even though most of them were travelling along and it just meant they'd be sitting next to a different random stranger.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 7:40 AM
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I hope at least one of your kids vomited on them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 7:41 AM
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Vomiting doesn't seem to cause pain in kids until they get to six or so.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 7:42 AM
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I randomly got TSA Pre-Check once. It was fucking awesome. And yet, somehow I feel like not having to take off my shoes and my belt should not be a source of pleasure.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 7:44 AM
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If you're old, it's like TSA Pre-Check every day.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 7:49 AM
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I do like the fact that Europeans laugh at the stupid Americans who start taking off their belt and shoes by default when travelling abroad (where it's not required.)


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 7:52 AM
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Maybe the State Department should write that on the passport after the part where the Secretary of State asks people to be nice to you.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 7:57 AM
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"Le Secrétaire d'État des États-Unis d'Amérique prie par les présentes toutes autorités compétentes de laisser passer le citoyen ou ressortissant des États-Unis titulaire du présent passeport, sans délai ni difficulté et, en cas de besoin, de lui accorder toute aide et protection légitimes. S'il vous plaît ne pas rire si il enlève ses chaussures dans la ligne de sécurité."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 8:06 AM
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Rank of US domestic airlines, in order from most to least shittiness:

Spirit/Horizon/Frontier - United - American - Southwest/Delta

Southwest gets dinged a bit for the seating thing, but they still serve snacks and free checked luggage. Delta is clearly the best major non-budget carrier, and they still give you snacks too, at least some of the time.

I once had an 18 hour layover in Istanbul. We arrived at 10 pm, met up with a friend living there, drank all night long, and got back on the plane super hungover the next afternoon. The first part was fun, but the 11 hour flight while hungover sucked to the point that maybe it made the first part not worth it. Turkish Air is awesome though, and if you have a chance you should fly them. They give everyone a travel kit, and the socks are so amazing I'm still wearing them 3 years later.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 8:24 AM
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I hope you're washing them, at least.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 8:26 AM
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110

You're a nicer person than I, because when I've been randomly chosen for pre-check, all it's done is reminded me how air travel used to not suck so much back in the 90s.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 8:27 AM
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We are booked on Southwest, which appears from the comments to be a good thing.

I'll try to do the 24-hour forward check-in thing.

Looks like leg room is the one thing that I'll just have to put up with, for about 4 hours if all goes well.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 8:30 AM
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Frontier Airlines confuses me. It used to fly tiny little planes to Grand Island, Nebraska. Then it went broke. Then it got bigger, I guess.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 8:31 AM
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Bigger, but not big enough to have flights to Nebraska.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 8:32 AM
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Spirit/Horizon/Frontier - United - American - Southwest/Delta

I've flown both United and American recently. American was way shittier.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 8:33 AM
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I don't understand 24 hour pre-checking. Like, if you are checking in over the internet, you are not actually checking in. You could still get hit by a bus or something, and not make the flight. Checking in should involve actually being at the airport.

Also, doing it on line is a more of a pain in the ass just hitting the automated kiosk on your way into the airport. And as long as you are hitting the kiosk, its nice to be able to say "I want that seat" and then you get to sit in that seat, and not even have to worry about your place in line. Its actually my preference to be one of the last to board, because I like to minimize the amount of time sitting in an uncomfortable airplane seat. But if you do that on Southwest, you are screwed.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 8:42 AM
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You forgot about Poland JetBlue which recently felt obligated to replicate some of the shittiness of their competitors but still seems better overall.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 8:45 AM
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You can say "I want that seat" during online checkin.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 8:46 AM
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Except on Southwest.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 8:49 AM
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You can say "I want that seat when you book, AFAIK. On the other hand there's a strong case that actual, as opposed to virtual check-in happens at the point when you wave goodbye to your luggage and hope to see it again some day.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 8:50 AM
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I haven't checked a bag in 7 years (average of 6 flights per year)


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 9:05 AM
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I've never had an airline lose or damage a bag. Since 9/11, I haven't even had one arrive late. I always check something when flying with the family.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 9:08 AM
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I don't understand 24 hour pre-checking. Like, if you are checking in over the internet, you are not actually checking in.

It makes me LIVID.

Also, when I recently booked a ticket on Frontier, I had to pay extra to pick a seat. Not a better seat. Any seat. Prices started at $6 and went up from there. Which is cheap enough that I just sat there and gave the computer screen the middle finger for a moment or two.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 9:19 AM
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I had to pay extra to pick a seat

I've encountered this recently! United, I think. Airlines are the shittiest.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 9:27 AM
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Checking in should involve actually being at the airport.

Objectively pro-waiting in line? Except for a few outliers you get to pick your seat either at reservation time or when checking in. Yeah, they want you to pay to pick the "better" seats (exit rows, etc.) but picking your seat at the airport is "which middle seat do I least hate."

Also, Southwest's online check in (unless it's changed recently) is sort of a joke. All "A" check in numbers are pretty much taken by special classes of passengers, and if you try to check in exactly 24 hours in advance you are usually well into the tail end of the "B" numbers and might get a window or aisle seat near the back if you are lucky.

128. Me neither, but now I'm worrying that I am angering the baggage check monsters by mentioning it.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 9:35 AM
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but picking your seat at the airport is "which middle seat do I least hate."

Or "there are no seats left. Hopefully some volunteers are willing to be bumped, because otherwise you'll be forcibly re-booked on a later flight. Sorry!"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 9:36 AM
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Well, market forces say that its better for some people to pay to pick seats, so clearly we are in the wrong to be annoyed by this.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 9:37 AM
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131.2: I always get either the end of the As or the start of the Bs. Never had trouble getting a whole row together when I checked in exactly 24 hours in advance.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 9:37 AM
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I do enjoy the idea of showing up with 4 kids, age 6 and under, and explaining to the flight attendant that all that is left is 6 middle seats, and what do you recommend we do? But instead we've stopped flying with kids, as much as possible.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 9:38 AM
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Objectively pro-waiting in line?

Beats trying to wrangle access to a printer when I'm not departing from home.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 9:39 AM
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You do realize that you can check-in online without a printer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 9:40 AM
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You can either do the phone thing or get your boarding pass at the ticket counter. You just need to mentally separate "checking in" from "getting your boarding pass."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 9:41 AM
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129

Frontier sucks. Not only do they nickel and dime you something outrageous in a super unethical way (even if you read all the fine print and do the cheapest things possible, add at least $60 onto the cost of their tickets), but they are also just really shitty at getting you to where you want to go in a reasonable way. The first (and last!) time I flew them from CHI-PHL they claimed we had to circle for an hour outside Philly bc the airport was shut down (WTF? no, it was definitely not) and then without telling us landed in Wilmington to refuel. After sitting in Wilmington for about 2 hours, we flew back to PHL, circled around for 40 minutes, and landed at a totally functional, not-recently-shutdown-airport. On the way back, we ALSO were told that "severe weather" in Chicago would delay our flight and so we were grounded in PHL for over an hour (people called friends/family in Chicago, it was 70 degrees and sunny). We also had to circle O'Hare for about an hour because "most of the airport was shutdown" (which it totally wasn't). I've never had an airline blatantly lie that badly in an easily fact-checkable way. My boyfriend's theory is that they don't really pay for standard runway rights, so if there's some sort of minor delay or hitch in the system, they get kicked off the landing log and have to wait for something to open up.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 9:42 AM
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130

IME with United, they make it seem like you have to pick a seat for $15, but if you just click the skip button they assign you a seat for free. It's usually a really shitty one, but it doesn't cost $15.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 9:43 AM
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140: They aren't allowed to make you stand.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 9:45 AM
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You just need to mentally separate "checking in" from "getting your boarding pass."

Which begs the question, what the fuck is "checking in" even supposed to be? Why do we do it?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 9:45 AM
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Otherwise people would just buy airline tickets and then not take the flight.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 9:46 AM
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If you're going into this with the attitude that everything you do should have a good reason, it's going to be needlessly frustrating for you across the board.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 9:48 AM
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Oh, and the paying for checked baggage thing sucks and I doubt it makes airlines much money. It's like, the stupidest idea thought up by glue sniffing MBA students. I've been flying a bunch domestically, and on almost every goddamn flight (except Delta), they've made pretty much half the plane gate check their bags for free. In reality, probably the same amount of bags are getting checked, except 1) it's done really inefficiently,* 2) it's not really based on who wants to check a bag, and 3) you still have to get it through security so get none of the advantages of a checked bag (i.e. the chance to bring guns, fireworks, napalm, and regular sized shampoo etc.) If an airline brought back free checked bag, they'd probably be in a similar spot except with better boarding and way happier customers.

*Now half the boarding time is people arguing with gate agents that their refrigerator-sized lead trunk actually fits in the overhead compartment.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 9:50 AM
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I don't understand 24 hour pre-checking. Like, if you are checking in over the internet, you are not actually checking in. You could still get hit by a bus or something, and not make the flight. Checking in should involve actually being at the airport.

Is this in fact deliberate? "Sorry, you checked in and then didn't arrive, so we can't refund, oh on a completely different subject we're no longer overbooked"?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 9:50 AM
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It's too bad knecht isn't around anymore to reassure us that every bizarre airline policy makes sense.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 9:52 AM
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145: I don't think they're actually expecting to make money directly from bag check fees. I think they're just making the flight worse for people who don't have the right credit card or enough frequent flyer miles so that people will get the right credit card or fly enough with that airline to get high-mileage status.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 9:54 AM
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They aren't allowed to make you stand.

Ryanair (Irish cut price outfit) actually applied to IATA for permission to operate standing only flights. (They were turned down.)


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 9:55 AM
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148: I thought it was a result of the drive to post lower prices on sites like Priceline and Expedia.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 9:56 AM
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Airlines, wireless carriers, cable companies/internet service providers, health insurance companies: what do they have in common?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 9:59 AM
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I think I got the idea that it was to make everybody but the high-mileage fliers miserable from reading KR here. But I may have missed something. Anyway, I know that my brother, who once was in the million mile club, has a completely different experience of airlines that I do.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 10:00 AM
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You can't trust them an inch?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 10:00 AM
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153 > 151


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 10:01 AM
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Yes, chris, 153 is bigger than 151. Good job.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 10:03 AM
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Whenever I read those symbols, I still say to myself, "The alligator eats the bigger number."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 10:05 AM
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what do they have in common?

Markets characterized by limited competition and under-regulation.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 10:09 AM
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148

I guess I don't get a business model where the goal is to make most of your customers actively hate you. But then again, I know they make v. little money from us in steerage and don't give a fuck about their low-paid gate agents and flight attendants, who have to deal with disgruntled assholes all day long.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 10:12 AM
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Whenever I read those symbols, I still say to myself, "The alligator eats the bigger number."

A bunch of my students do this, too, and I find it totally weird. The symbol itself is its own mnemonic device! It has a big side and a little side. Why does it need a nonsensical secondary meaning? Why would alligators prefer big numbers over small numbers?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 10:12 AM
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I'm starting to understand how people find themselves faking credentials. Due to my limited success at selling out and my promising attempts at moving up in the world, I not only keep getting addressed as "Dr. Hick," but people are now apologizing to me for not knowing if I'm a real doctor or a Ph.D. doctor.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 10:13 AM
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159: Maybe I have a very limited form of dyslexia? I really don't see a big side and a small side unless I think of the alligator. Otherwise I just see "arrow".


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 10:16 AM
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Have you considered changing your first name to "Doctor"? Like Doctor Science?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 10:17 AM
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||

A useful update to that study about all the dying middle-aged white people. Doesn't destroy the original study, but definitely important to note.

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 10:19 AM
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161: huh, okay. I think of it as an "=" that has been pinched on one side and opened on the other.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 10:19 AM
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I bet if you were my fourth grade teacher, I would have been able to form that association also. But it's much too late for me. Save others.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 10:22 AM
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162: All my publications are under my current name.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 10:23 AM
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I have the same issue as Moby. If I'm not careful, I'll write it backwards, because it seems like the arrow should be pointing to the bigger number.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 10:26 AM
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It's probably less of an issue if you don't do math for a living.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 10:27 AM
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Why would alligators prefer big numbers over small numbers?

Because they're hungry? It always seemed fairly intuitive.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 10:27 AM
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When I was a kid, I developed some sort of intuitive understanding of the symbol and scoffed at the alligator kids. But I overthought it once, forgot whatever it was that made it make sense, and resorted to alligators.

Also, when we went on field trips to the Everglades, I always made sure I was wearing a shirt with a small number on it.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 10:30 AM
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What if the alligator itself is not as big as the bigger number? Then it'd prefer the more bite-size number.

But really, it just doesn't need an animal.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 10:31 AM
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No one understood why I was such a Pat Leahy fan.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 10:31 AM
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171.2: That's what I say.


Posted by: Opinionated Vegan | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 10:33 AM
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I guess I don't get a business model where the goal is to make most of your customers actively hate you.

I think it's an inevitable consequence of having something like a monopoly or at least close enough to it that people do have to use the service you provide a lot of the time and don't have much choice in the matter. A lot of the passengers on the planes have no other reasonable choice, so the business can rip them off endlessly and offer them the ability to pay not to be relentlessly annoyed with stuff. Add in some not-flying equivalent, especially if it's public as opposed to "subsidized to the point where it almost might as well be but let's add in a nasty middleman anyway", and they'd probably very quickly have to change a lot of stuff.

So, I guess, see also: Comcast.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 10:33 AM
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Anyway, 167 + 169 is exactly the reason why it has to be an animal.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 10:36 AM
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That was me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 10:37 AM
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Why would alligators prefer big numbers over small numbers?

Alligators need lots of calories.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 10:41 AM
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171: That's why it can't be a python.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 10:43 AM
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US airlines must be even crappier than I remember. In Europe, any non-budget flight over an hour and a half or so will have "free" food, and they all serve drinks. I was on a ca. 1h45 flight to/from Bilbao just this weekend and was served (crappy) food and drink both ways.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 10:56 AM
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I don't miss the food on short flights at all. It was mostly as bad as the jokes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 10:58 AM
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115 I flew Turkish Airways. Those socks are in my backpack now. (I'm flying back with them as well and I'll pick up another pair. Let me know if you want them.)

Wheels down in Berlin obvs. At baggage claim. Mr head wound guy is acting bizarrely.

Saw a disturbing scene as we deplaned. A family of old Turkish country folk types (maybe Kurds, couldn't really tell) about a half dozen rows ahead of me was holding everything up. They were obviously unfamiliar with the procedure of making sure you get your baggage out if the overhead compartments while your waiting so you can be ready to go. And one of them was on crutches. All the passengers nearby and behind just glared until a woman (who had been sitting in the aisle seat of my row - i was in the window seat as always) started berating them in German. No one offered to help. I've been in plenty of situations like that and someone, usually a young man, oh and an American, steps up to the plate. It was an ugly scene with a pall of racist xenophobia about it.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 10:58 AM
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The thing about Frontier that caught my attention: they charge $30 to check a bag and $40 to carry on a bag. I've heard from several people that the gate agent won't actually stop you from boarding with a carry-on if you haven't paid, but I've never tried it.

Anyway, it turns out that checking your bag is kind of a hassle, in that it can require an extra 30 minutes waiting for your luggage to show up on the baggage-claim carousel. So I guess it makes sense for that to be the cheaper option.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 11:00 AM
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I've become a frequent flier in my new job. 10 flights in 3 months, on the non-cheap legacy carriers. All flights less than a thousand miles. No delays more than a half hour. No free food but always a free cup of ginger ale. Not bad so far.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 11:10 AM
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174: the thing about airlines is that it seems like there is actually a respectable amount of competition. It would be easy to imagine a world in which there was often only one or maybe two carriers on any particular route, so that competition was limited, but for the most part that's not the world we live in.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 11:11 AM
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Once you get more miles in, you can get a free cup of a soda that tastes better.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 11:11 AM
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184: Actually, that's the world most small cities are in.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 11:12 AM
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||

Incidentally, this is what passes for good news these days, isn't it?

|>


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 11:27 AM
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A friend works in the inner offices of airlines. I am not endorsing any of these views, but the way he tells it:

1. Passengers buy purely on price. Will not pay for any niceness.
2. Often, airlines are losing money trying to offer the low prices. A successful airline is one that loses less money in a quarter.
3. Passengers expect niceness once they arrive at the airport, not remembering that they rejected all niceness when they bought the cheapest ticket.

Anyway, he also has very unfortunate libertarian tendencies and when he proposed that it really allowed people more freedom to chose to pay to go to the bathroom and get water or blankets since sometimes they might not need those things, I told him that if he wanted to haul freight, he should switch to a freight airline and if he is hauling humans, he must account for human needs.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 11:33 AM
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I think 186 has basically the right answer - we really should see something like that except there's a combination of "there's no reason for me to do it if they won't", the fact that if you really want to pay extra for not-misery you absolutely can (that's the business model after all), and the fact that a lot of the airlines have kind of divided up the country into various hubs and territories that they cover with relatively little competition. I mean, I could fly out of MSP on an airline that isn't Delta, but for general Minneapolis to Pennsylvania travel it's not especially likely to happen without careful planning. And that's a system that generally benefits everyone and once it's established it's hard for other airlines to break in to various areas and usually easier/more profitable not to (or to just flat out buy the other airline, like with Northwest and Delta).


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 11:34 AM
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184 was referring to the world before all the airline mergers.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 11:45 AM
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Airlines aren't that bad. There's a lot of objectively difficult logistical aspects to flying, so there's always going to be some problems. But they're a lot better than cable companies.

Also if you fly a lot or are willing to spend extra then things get a lot nicer. TSA PreCheck is $20/year. Lounge is $400/year or $50 a day. You can buy more legroom for $50 or so. Similarly $100/year gets you priority boarding. They all make for a way more pleasant experience, if you prefer that to saving money. But most people want to get from A to B as cheaply as possible and don't want to spend extra money on something that's still not going to be actually fun.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 11:51 AM
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188 sounds right. Unless you have a lot of disposable income, plane tickets are expensive enough that price overwhelms everything. Shit, I've even flown Spirit Airlines. Quick googling suggests that US airlines are profitable, but airlines elsewhere are struggling.

And honestly, unless service/amenities are truly horrendous, would you pay an extra 50 or 100 dollars to be more comfortable for a few hours? I probably wouldn't. International routes are a different story, but those tend to be nicer experiences anyway.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 11:52 AM
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On the topic of chatty passengers, I seem to have a demeanor that says "Tell me all of your troubles," so I often spend flights hearing about my fellow passengers' troubles. Most recently, the lady next to me told me all about the horrible business trip she'd just been on (it really did sound awful). Bonus points: she kept buying me bourbon.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 12:10 PM
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193: that sounds like a fair exchange.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 12:25 PM
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If you're flying internationally, there are many countries in which Valium, which makes many of these problems go away, is available for like twenty cents.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 12:29 PM
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Anyway, he also has very unfortunate libertarian tendencies and when he proposed that it really allowed people more freedom to chose to pay to go to the bathroom and get water or blankets since sometimes they might not need those things, I told him that if he wanted to haul freight, he should switch to a freight airline and if he is hauling humans, he must account for human needs.

IIRC, it's illegal to deny someone free water if they ask for it, since it could be a health emergency.* I don't know about the legality of not providing bathrooms, but my guess is it's more expensive to clean the seats than to let people pee for free. If airlines do charge for bathrooms, if I could hold it to the end of the flight and change immediately afterwards I would definitely choose to pee on the seat instead of paying for the bathroom, just on the principle of the matter. But anyways, the minute someone suffers a health issue from being denied water/blankets/bathrooms, they would sue the pants off the airlines.

*even Frontier tries to make you buy their bottled water, but they will give you free water in a cup if you ask for it.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 1:04 PM
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Also, I am a price conscious grad student, but the price difference would have to be hundreds of dollars before I would fly Frontier again.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 1:06 PM
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Most recently, the lady next to me told me all about the horrible business trip she'd just been on (it really did sound awful). Bonus points: she kept buying me bourbon.

THAT'S NOT HOW IT'S SUPPOSED TO WORK.


Posted by: OPINIONATED BARTENDER | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 1:23 PM
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On the drinks front: Yes, water and soft drinks are free on US flights, but on shorter flights, there's a decent chance that they barely come around once (I was once on a flight where the cart reached me literally minutes before we had to buckle for descent). It's not the world's greatest hardship, but 6 oz. of water while on an objectively dehydrating experience that lasts 90 minutes gate to gate is a bit scanty. In practice, I often don't drink the water I bring on flights, but I'd hate to board with nothing in hand.

I have no idea what the policy is on snacks; I've gotten zilch, I've gotten little packets of pretzels. They mostly try to make you pay for food, but the value proposition is truly awful, because captive audience.

Now I can't recall if they fed us anything on the nonstop to/from LA. I don't think they did, aside from possible pretzels. Legacy carrier.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 1:28 PM
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Legacy Carrier is the worst brand of pretzels.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 1:31 PM
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Fucking hell, man. That's what it is. And the economists and Robert Bork are primarily to blame.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 1:33 PM
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JetBlue offers unlimited snacks. They usually have about 4 options- two kinds of chips (e.g blue potato or sun), two kinds of cookies (animal crackers or large chocolate chip.) Whenever I only ask for 1 they try to push a second on me- "And what else would you like?" I have never tested the unlimited end of that offer- I've seen people take as many as 4 packets but I don't know when they cut you off.
I've taken to drinking bloody mary mix (no alcohol) on trips, for some reason it's pretty good when flying. I remember seeing some news story about how tomato juice is more appealing on an airplane.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 1:42 PM
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I read some story on how airline coffee pots have not been cleaned since Kitty Hawk so now I don't drink coffee on airplanes. I don't know why. It's not like I ever clean the idea of my own coffee pot.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 1:44 PM
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My ideas are sparkly clean.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 1:48 PM
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Yes, but are they caffeinated?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 1:52 PM
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God, mine are so filthy.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 1:52 PM
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Hey, the only thing worse than airplanes? Doctor billing! I got some photocopy of a hand-scrawled ledger of charges for a recent consult, outpatient surgery, and follow-up. I paid the $250 copay at the time. But the hand scrawled bullshit has $20 circled in highlighter at the bottom which I guess implies I'm supposed to pay it? (There was a remittance envelope.) Checking my health insurance claim site, though, it says all I'm supposed to pay is the $250, and most galling is that the doctor knows this because they didn't file claims for any office visits, just the overall procedure. So they're basically asking me for a copay for something they never charged to insurance. A quick googling suggests that this is really illegal, outright fraud.
OTOH the surgery was done really well.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 1:53 PM
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I'm booking flight right now. One leg is going to be American, which sucks. But there's a fucking direct Jet Blue flight from DCA to Nassau for $61 exactly when I need to go. How could I be so fortunate?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 1:56 PM
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Oh good, you can test whether they'll really let you eat 100 bags of potato chips.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 1:59 PM
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Ah, fuck, they are charging for a checked bag.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 2:01 PM
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I guess $77 is still pretty good. Why doesn't everyone in DC spend all their weekends in Nassau?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 2:02 PM
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Should be $20, whereas they have a higher class (Blue plus or something?) that includes a bag but is only $15 more for the ticket.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 2:02 PM
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211: because flying is terrible for the environment.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 2:05 PM
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Then why did the environment create birds?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 2:11 PM
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Flying on birds is actually fine. It's flying in a jet aeroplane that is so problematic.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 2:20 PM
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You would think the DC-Nassau run would be a good fit for an ekranoplan with its high level of efficiency.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 2:27 PM
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What if Vito, Jed, and Linus carry you too far away?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 2:27 PM
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204,206. Sparkly and filthy is actually a nice combination. Marilyn Minter explored a few variations.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 2:59 PM
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||On an extremely time-sensitive basis, I need ideas for "most hilarious European monarch." Can be from any time period, but his/her life story must be funny.|>


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 3:25 PM
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That last guy from Bavaria was pretty funny. Or at least he died strangely.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 3:31 PM
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And various Eastern European royalty wound up selling appliances in New Jersey or something.

Probably easier to just Google this with "site: Cracked".


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 3:34 PM
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Louis XI of France managed to get the nickname "the Universal Spider", which is kind of amazing, but I only recently learned that supposedly he ordered the building of what amounted to a cat piano, only with pigs. That's got to count for something right?


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 3:36 PM
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Ladislav IV of Hungary-- medieval pagan, failure, exile.

Ot Louis Phillippe, also exile and failure.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 3:36 PM
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Friedrich Wilhem I isn't a bad choice at all. He created a special regiment of infantry composed entirely of enormously tall people for his own... fun? He even sent soldiers to forcibly kidnap especially talk men for it if he couldn't recruit them directly.

The biography of him in the first link has a bunch of other amazing stories too.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 3:44 PM
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This from the annals of Ireland (873):

The king of Lochlainn, i.e. Gothfraid, died of a sudden hideous disease. Thus it pleased God.

Not hilarious, just unlamented.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 3:54 PM
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My time was up, so I went with Charles VI "the Mad" of France. I'm worried that I'll be seen as making fun of mental illness.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 3:56 PM
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That was the fellow we usually call Ivar the Boneless, by the way.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 4:06 PM
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Who wouldn't have had any trouble fitting into airline seats . . .


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 4:07 PM
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207

Just write back on the payslip, "bill my insurance first."


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 5:56 PM
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My time was up, so I went with Charles VI "the Mad" of France. I'm worried that I'll be seen as making fun of mental illness.

I was actually going to suggest him, based on that time he caught fire. Of course, making fun of burn victims isn't actually better than making fun of mental illness.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 7:37 PM
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There's King John of Bohemia, who fought at Crecy despite being blind. He tied himself to two of his armsmen, had at the enemy, and was killed by the Black Prince that day.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 8:44 PM
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What became of the armsmen?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 8:58 PM
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||
Hey, nonny-nonny!

You know on Dr. Who how Davros genetically engineered the Kelads until they were these hateful little flaccid starfish creatures controlling the familiar motorized robotic carapace? That's basically the view you get of most people in the financial industry. They're perfectly willing to call up and harangue some stranger about a $6 fee for half an hour, but ask them to get that exercised about black kids getting killed or people suffering without healthcare, and they're content to just let it all flow by on their fablets.

||>


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 9:09 PM
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Wasn't there some balkan royal family that just pre ww1 was living in a mildly tarted up cave?


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 9:15 PM
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Robert Farley had a whole series of posts at LGM on deposed monarchs that included lots of hilarious lives.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 9:17 PM
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Not that that's a sign of mental illness per se mind you.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 9:17 PM
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Carlos IV of Spain and his family certainly seemed a little off, at least as painted by Goya.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 9:19 PM
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232 All killed.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11- 6-15 9:46 PM
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they no longer give you food on trans-atlantic fucking flights? that's appalling. I'm flying back to the states on the 12th for a month and I do actually pay extra for it to suck less. narnia airlines is deserving of their sterling rep, so I pay not trivially more money to fly. my london-dulles leg is virgin atlantic which is supposed to be nice. I paid maybe $400 extra to sit in the exit row for the narnia-london part (for some reason my wardrobe is broken). for flights that are 14 hours or whatever it's worth it. domestic US flights are all heinous, though I think united is the worst. I will probably take the train to WVa to see my bro's newly-built house and then ride with him to SC and back up to DC. long trip but great opportunity to talk with my bro and 10 hour drive still pretty much better than a flight changing in hotlanta. I know this is one of my not sympathetic at all problems but I have spent more than $40K on (economy!) plane tickets this year. the reason is multiple visits to my mom to help her during chemo, and a trip to the in-laws, plus I had to go back to bali mid-US-trip, also narnia-bali 2x. I have needed to go back and to all the way around the world four times this year and the girls and husband x flew the first two times. I try to remind husband x this is literally what money is for--like it's the whole point of having money--but it's killing him. I am also miserable about whether I have failed at life by being so far away from the people I love all this time, and now maybe they won't be there when I come back in 7 years after girl y graduates from high school. and I don't want my kids to leave me! four years is not far away for girl x! but what kind of keep-the-home-fires-burning example have I set for them? fuckfuckfuckfuck.

heebie I hope you are spared further flooding; this has sucked hard. so sorry for you having to deal with this.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 11- 7-15 1:36 AM
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the biggest tell for this story being a lie is that no non-asian person eats/would compare something to bitter gourd. Too bad as it's delicious!


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 11- 7-15 2:52 AM
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Of course they give you food on trans-atlantic fights. They're not that insane (and I'm sure it wouldn't be legal if they were). It's US flights where they stopped.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11- 7-15 4:38 AM
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Born on a muffin-top in Tennessee,
Tastiest treat in the land of the free,
Ate him an eclair when he was only three,
Davy, Davy Cupcake, pastry pioneer


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 7-15 7:09 AM
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OK that's more reasonable; I thought someone had said above that they wasn't even feeding people on international flights...


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 11- 7-15 8:35 AM
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243: I think that was me being unclear. Last two times to Germany were on Singapore, which is fucking heaven.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 7-15 8:48 AM
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Southwest to Omaha might be like traveling in a cattle car, but it sure is easy to get from your gate to baggage claim or ground transportation when you land in Omaha.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 7-15 9:03 AM
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Also, Godfathers breakfast pizza.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 7-15 9:11 AM
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I would love to fly Narnia Airlines but I don't think talking mice are tall enough to be pilots, notwithstanding their allegorical significance. Call me traditional.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 7-15 9:28 AM
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247: That's why you need to keep your wardrobe in good repair.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 7-15 1:21 PM
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Combing international travel and my previous healthcare complaint- Anyone know how international health insurance works (al maybe?) We're planning on living abroad in Europe for 6-8 months starting next summer. Most likely I'll still be employed by my US company so I'll still have US HMO but we need some kind of insurance required by the country we're living in. Is there some kind of supplement to our US insurance we buy? Just buy something basic there? We found 500 Euros for 12 months of basic coverage which is GP office visits- no specialists no ER but I think ER visits would be covered by US insurance.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11- 7-15 3:10 PM
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||

What the hell was wrong with toy marketing account execs in the 1970s in Australia? I thought the malaise was supposed to be a Carter thing.

http://www.neatoldtoys.com/1979_australian_p5_p6.jpg

http://www.neatoldtoys.com/1979_australian_p7_p8.jpg

I mean, at least the boy looks somewhat engaged, if constipated. The girl might not even be alive! It's creepy as fuck.

||>


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 7-15 7:45 PM
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Combing international travel and my previous healthcare complaint- Anyone know how international health insurance works (al maybe?)

There used to be a company called Van Breda that provided internataonal health coverage. Now they are owned by Cigna. It covers well enough; the problem is that you have to write the doctor a check, then send in a receipt and the insurance company will reimburse you. The implication is that you need to maintain a certain amount of liquidity.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11- 9-15 6:32 AM
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The human body is 60% capital.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 9-15 6:47 AM
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Anyone know how international health insurance works (al maybe?) We're planning on living abroad in Europe for 6-8 months starting next summer. Most likely I'll still be employed by my US company so I'll still have US HMO but we need some kind of insurance required by the country we're living in. Is there some kind of supplement to our US insurance we buy? Just buy something basic there? We found 500 Euros for 12 months of basic coverage which is GP office visits- no specialists no ER but I think ER visits would be covered by US insurance

Unless you are covered by your existing insurance, it probably depends quite a lot which European country you're in what the best option would be. That said, If you're going to be legally resident in an EU country, you should be able to get an EHIC, which will let you get treated anywhere in Europe as if you were a resident there.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11- 9-15 7:39 AM
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