The Rapid Traveler had another Monday 3:30 am wakeup call. On the weeks he plays domestic road warrior instead of international, the travel is a whole lot less fun. But the flight down to his employer’s Atlanta office was wheels up at EWR within 15 minutes of scheduled departure, cruised into ATL without circling and was on the runway 45 minutes ahead of schedule, essentially what it should be without the NYC area schedule padding.
The plane made its final tarmac turn toward the terminal and stopped, the captain coming on the PA. That is usually the moment the idyll is broken and the wait for a gate starts, but instead the captain announced, “Well folks, Atlanta Airport just made a big deposit in your account. We are significantly early. Make the most of it, because Atlanta Airport will want it back in another flight.” Carpe diem for the jetset.
The faces on this Delta flight have gotten a bit too familiar to The Rapid Traveler but he was amused to see one memorable man return in relatively good health. Some months ago, on a Thursday night, on a plane with no row 1 on the left side, the woman in 2A thought she was in The Rapid Traveler’s 3A. The misunderstanding seemed a trifle and was corrected, but soon 2B was filled and as the flight unfolded The Rapid Traveler felt decidedly unchivalrous for not letting her have the seat.
Next to her sat a rotund man in formal clothes and baseball cap, profusely sweating, who proceeded to expectorate so violently throughout the flight that the flight attendants from the back of the plane came to see if there was an emergency. His seat heaved back and forth, the only respite for the poor women was during his long bathroom breaks. The plane was totally full but perhaps she should have located a jump seat. She contracted into a tremoring ball, and upon landing deplaning, in a pitch perfect Fran Drescher voice, proclaimed, “That was the longest flight of my life. I won’t feel clean even after showering,” and then headed to the restroom, preumably to sandpaper her epidermis.
The baseball hat was back today but its mount was restored to reasonable health and only mildly labored breathing. No subsequent sign of the woman, though.