Flying with ties

About a year and a half ago, during the summer, I flew to LA to visit some friends. I hate flying, most people know that by now. My flight originated at LaGuardia, flew to Houston and then I had a connector flight from Houston to LA. On the flight out of Houston, we were told by our pilot that we would

proceed using a low altitude climb because the plane is too heavy

Now, obviously, I had many problems with this statement. One, it came from our pilot. Two, the use of the word TOO. Three, why in the hell would anyone fuck with air travel by over-pushing the weight capacity of an airplane? I just don’t get people. This made no sense.

I sat, white-knuckled and hoped for a safe landing. I looked around at all the larger people, cursing them for being large, during a fit of pure terror, one can hate just about anything or anyone. At that moment, I hated the big people and I hated the luggage which lay beneath me.

This brings me to my next point. A few weeks ago, Toby and I were watching the news, when they began speaking about the Charlotte, N.C flight that went down. The FAA is saying that they may begin weighing folks as weight could have been the cause of the wreck.

Last night, I was watching TV when the phone rang. It was my family. They’re in Florida for the week hanging out, catching some sun. Relaxing. My aunt headed down there on Sunday and was supposed to get in at around 3 p.m. She, instead, arrived around 11:30 p.m. after a nightmare of a flying experience.

It turns out, the plane leaving Newark was too heavy. Instead of unloading some luggage, or rearranging the passengers to lessen the weight, perhaps moving a few to a later flight, they removed fuel. Yes. Fuel. This is so amazingly stupid and completely out of this world, idiotic, moronic, repulsive and flabbergastingly, unbelievably absurd, I am nearly speechless.

But that’s not all… after the passengers de-boarded (to remove the fuel) and then boarded again, the flight took to the skies. As the plane sat above South Carolina, the pilot came on to announce that

they didn’t have enough fuel to make it to Florida, and would have to land in South Carolina to refuel and then be on their way again.”

People are throwing a fit about the idea of being weighed before boarding an aircraft. There are folks saying that the FAA should see that aircrafts to hold larger loads. (Which was done, but Americans, on average have gotten progressively heavier over the past 20 years).

Should people be forced to be weighed? Should our already hurting air industry be forced to purchase and/or build new planes which will hold an even larger group of people? Are you all thinking,

Damn, michele is a massive, fat-hating bitch and should really just shut up?

I’m sorry if I’ve offended anyone. I’m looking for opinions and thoughts on the subject. How do you feel about the idea of being weighed? Have you ever been concerned about the weight of the plane you’re on? And, please, hold back on any politically correct, tip-toeing bullshit. I want the truth.


  1. We should make Fast Food Nation mandatory reading…maybe knowing what eaxctly makes up that Big Mac might get a few to rethink their diets?

    No in all seiousness, this is going to be a huge issue when some of these “obese people” (those weighing more than 80 lbs. over their suggested weight) begin suing on the grounds of discrimination.


  2. I have no problem being weighed, but then I’m not

    The truth is, the airlines need to be more stringent with their luggage allowances. Here’s one anecdotal example: one of the last times I flew to Ohio-Thanksgiving or Christmas, maybe-there was girl going to or returning from college, and she was checking three (three!) things in addition to her carry-on items, and one of those checked pieces was an enormous box of something. Clothes, maybe. The woman at the ticketing counter, after little-to-no consideration, let the girl check everything she brought. Seriously, pay attention to how much crap people check. I guess airlines figure that for every person checking too much stuff, there’s someone else with only carry-on items. Even so, this seems like the simplest and least controversial method for alleviating these weight issues.


  3. I agree with Missy. A lot of people use airline travel for free shipping; I’ve done it myself once or twice. There has to be a better way than to blame overweight people. Seriously, they have enough shit thrown at them already with the too-small chairs, no leg room, etc.


  4. Aside from the current situation, which is fairly easily explained, airlines have always been insanely profitable. I suggest fewer seats, period, on planes. Give people room,
    or not. If they stopped trying to cram as much flesh onboard as possible (for an extra few bucks), none of this would be an issue.


  5. I’m with both Missy and Tobyjoe here. First of all, just take like one row of seats out of these planes—it would not allow more weight, but it would give us back some leg room as well. Secondly, set both a quantity and a weight cap on luggage, and make people PAY to surpass those limits. Maybe people would think twice about checking their bowling ball or china set if they knew it would up the cost.

    Seems silly to take this out on the ”
    people” themselves, though. Especially when ”
    ” is such a subjective word. And let’s remember that somebody doesn’t have to be ”
    ” to be heavy. I’m betting that many tall people also tip the scales of what would be considered a normal or “average” weight.

    Along those lines, I just got another idea: Maybe the airlines could start offering steep discounts to dwarves and other assorted “little people”?


  6. Dammit, I forgot to edit myself … that should be “not ONLY allow more weight” in the second line.


  7. I agree with Missy. Very much so. My only problem with removing seats is that we already forget that flying is a fairly dangerous commodity. I think, somewhere along the lines, people began to see it as a luxury. They put in lounges, there are two story planes, there are massage parlors, full bars, etc. It’s not a cruise.

    I’m not saying they should make it so uncomfortable it’s unbearable, but making it even more “comfy” might remove people from the mere act even more so.

    I remember, back in the day, people would clap upon landing. Now, people bitch and moan if they’re asked to stop painting their nails. (Yes, that did happen on a flight I was on, same one to LA).

    But I’m all for the luggage thing. Hell, I rarely ever check bags for fear of losing them.

    Either way, we’re talking about excess.


  8. Interesting, Mihow. I always thought that flying has become way less luxurious than it used to be. Back in the day, only rich people could afford to fly, and people dressed up for travelling. Now, they squash us in like sheep, which makes for a hostile and uncomfortable environment.


  9. I’m with Freakgirl. I look back at films from the 60’s and 70’s, in which people are flying, and it seems they had MUCH more personal space than we do now. And I remember thinking once, while watching an old movie, “Oh look, they used to have two-story planes” … because I’ve never actually been in one.

    Maybe the solution isn’t to keep the planes at a “lowest possible acceptable comfort level so that it’s not unbearable” but instead to make them economically uncomfortable by charging more? I mean, I sure don’t want to have to pay more, but if it comes down to choosing between that and not being comfortable during a 3 or 4 hour flight, I’d rather pay more and get some of my personal space back.


  10. How can that be if they’re flying the same planes as they’ve always been flying? Are they stripping seats and puting in more? If this is true, get me someone from the FAA on the line. I have a bone or two to pick. The only planes I know that are “new” are with Jet Blue or SouthWestern.

    It has become cheaper to fly, that’s for damn sure. It’s cheaper to fly most of the time than it is to take Amtrak. So I guess maybe, given that it’s so cheap, folks think on it as being less of a luxury?

    If that’s the case, do you think upping the cost of a flight may help? People may take it more seriously?

    Just questions… wondering what people think.


  11. randy – you already have the option to pay more for more comfort: First Class.

    I don’t understand mihow’s idea that people shouldn’t be distracted from the danger of flying. I want lots of comfort to distract me from the dangers. I want more space so I can feel even SLIGHTLY appreciated (after all, we put our lives in their hands and they offer us a quarter can of soda and less space than your average coffin).

    I used to fly AirTran for $35. I don’t wanna fly for $35, damn it. I wanna fly for a couple hundred and feel like I’m NOT on Greyhound, feel like I’m NOT just another random source of $35…


  12. I had a feeling people may not understand my point about the danger behind flying, etc.

    Let me try again… It comes down to this, when I fly I am aware of the dangers of flying. There are travellers, however, who take it for granted, they believe that it’s always been this way, that they have the right to fly and their attitude tends to suck. When people remove themselves so much from possible dangers behind anything really, the door opens for more oppotunity to cut corners and make (often times) distasterous errors.

    Does that make more sense?


  13. Freakgirl, YES, they have been stripping out the seats and putting in more. If you look closely at how the seats are installed, it’s on a track system, which allows the flexibility to add rows, and they’ve continued to do that gradually over the years, to cram more people in. They’ve also probably decreased the size of the stewardess cabins and bathrooms over time.

    Tobyjoe, yes, there is first class. But there’s also obviously a HUGE price leap from coach to first class. If we think of coach as “third class”—I’m interested in something like a “second class” ticket.

    I don’t want to have to pay over $1,000 to fly, and I don’t necessarily need to sit on the equivalent of a barcolounger and be fed grapes by the stewardesses. I’m talking more along the lines of paying 10-30% more than I do now for the “luxury” of having enough leg room, enough arm room, having one of those little TV’s on the back of every seat … and maybe letting me have the WHOLE can of soda (or in my case, cranberry juice, since I don’t really drink soda).


  14. Oops, meant to direct that first paragraph to Mihow, not Freakgirl.


  15. They removed fuel from an airplane to make sure that none of these people were bumped to a later flight. They removed the one thing that is actually necessary to have the whole thing work out ok. You better fucking believe, that if I had been on board that plane, knowing they were emptying it of its fuel in order to make it lighter for flying, I would haven’t even entertained the idea of getting back on that plane. Yet, most of these people did. That, to me, is absurd and proves just how much we’ve removed ourselves from the safety of flying.


  16. Randy, that doesn’t surprise me. Makes me sick, but it doesn’t surprise me. After all, it’s the American way. Look at the meat industry… becomming more and more completely unfit for human consumption.


  17. Posting because I’ve noticed (I think) that your comments tend to stall out after 16. So here’s 17.

    Let’s talk about something more fun; I have to fly on a jet then a commuter plane in a month and I don’t want to work myself into a frenzy. I’ll be the only person on the plane with nothing but the clothes on my back!

    Here: Stupid FOX. Stupid Joe Millionaire. Stupid me for caring.


  18. After that never-ending montage last night- what pray tell will they actually show for two hours next week?
    And did anyone else hear the caller on Howard Stern who said that Zora is a millionaire herself?


  19. mihow and i only watch shows where each episode opens with joggers finding a corpse.

    there are plenty of these shows, so let’s please stick to them on here.

    when that bondage chick turns up dead in a grape field and the drunk butler has no alibi, THEN we can talk about Joe Millionaire.


  20. mmmmmmmm grapes

    Yeah, I haven’t watched it. He’s creepy and their all sort of sad. Then again, I haven’t watched it, so maybe I’m the one who’s creepy and sad.

    I’ll never know.


  21. So you guys watch all three Law and Order series, too??


  22. No, Mihow, you’re right – he is creepy and sad. Actually, just really stupid.

    I don’t watch shows where joggers find dead bodies, but I probably should. It would cause me less mental trauma than “The Real World” or “American Idol.”


  23. Lack, not only do I watch them, but I actually look forward to them hours before they air. That’s how whipped I am. Indeed.


  24. And my VCR is programmed to tape all three, just in case I might miss them or fall asleep…


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