ShowsBefore You GoBulletin BoardContactAboutSearch
Show and Features |
Culture Watch | Question of the Week | Letters of the Week |
Traveler's Aid | Library | Host's View


Plane Petting Zoo

Dear Rudy,

On a recent Savvy Traveler program, you had listeners talking about their worst travel experience. I thought you may like to hear this one.

It was a cold, gray Washington, D.C. Monday morning in winter. My boss asked me to fly to Boston to do some training for a few days. I am not a morning person, so the trip to Dulles Airport from downtown was a chore. Add bad weather to the equation, and this was shaping up to be a bad trip before I even left the city.

After midnight, a storm had blown through the area that dumped about two inches of snow on the ground before turning into rain. The resulting slush on the road was like driving through sand and slowed my trip to the airport considerably. I got to the airport in a pre-coffee, grumpy mood. Rushing to the gate with my e-ticket, with only 10 minutes to spare, I found the Starbucks stand and sucked down a small coffee to make me feel more human. Then I was cattle-walked onto a freezing plane. The blowers were not on yet, and we sat shivering at the gate for over a half hour before the pilot gave us an explanation: The blowers couldn't be used during de-icing because they might cause the smelly de-icing vapor to waft onto the plane.

Cold, needing another coffee, and cramped in my seat, I was confronted with a snoring passenger directly behind me. But "snoring" is a gentle term for the racket emanating from this man. Let's just say the reverberation caused the baggage handler outside the plane to look for some noise he thought was coming from the engine.

Bad enough? Not yet. Next thing I know, I felt the man's foot touching the back of my leg. That was it! I had had it! Rip Van Winkle needed to be woken up!

Just as I turned in my seat to shake my neighbor awake, I felt a wiggling between my ankles. Much to my surprise, a huge golden retriever head appeared. He looked up at me as if to say, "Hi! I'm a seeing-eye dog and I need a little more room for this big ol' head. Mind if I use your foot as a pillow?"

Well, let me tell you, that was the most amazing mood transformation I've ever had in my life. I went from a grumpy traveler to an excited kid in the petting zoo in two seconds. My newest friend and I got along famously -- especially when the cold drinks came around. I had my morning OJ, and my under-the-seat buddy had the ice cubes.

This flight will always remain my best travel experience * at least on-the-job travel experience.

Truly yours,




{ Previous Letter | This Week's Index | Next Letter }

{ Main Letters Page }

American Public Media
American Public Media Home | Search | How to Listen
©2004 American Public Media |
Terms of Use | Privacy Policy