Departure times - There never seems to be a good one. Most of the time, I end up leaving Indy at 6am or somesuch. Why the hell is that? Do we have to sneak into the Vancouver airport under cover of dawn? I realize this is Indiana and all, but does that mean we're on the same "early to rise" schedule as the Clampett family? And why do they tell me to be at the airport two hours ahead of time when it usually takes me all of twenty minutes to get from the airport entrance, through all the security, to my gate?
Waiting at the gate - Because they've warned me to get there two hours ahead, I usually have about 90 minutes of time to fill while I wait to board. That's a lot of time to kill in a place with not much more than a news stand and a bathroom. There is a small arcade room, and I usually kill a couple of bucks and half an hour playing an archaic golf game (I think Nicklaus was a rookie when they made this thing). I bring an ipod with me (thanks, honey) and that keeps me occupied for a bit as I get caught up on my podcasts (most of them involve politics, wrestling, movies, or City of Heroes). I have to be careful about sitting down, though; since it's so early and I've usually gotten no sleep, if I'm not careful I could sleep through the boarding of my flight.
The Look - When I board the plane, I've very cognizant of the people already in their seats. While walking down the aisle, I tend to count the rows from where I'm at so I can guestimate where I'm sitting. When I finally get to my seat, I hate seeing the person already sitting in my row making that "oh, god, he's sitting next to me" face. Between my broadness and my somewhat bikery looks, I guess I'm not most folks' first choice for a person with whom to share a five hour flight. Just for the hell of it, I ought to bring a book with me entitled "Living with Leprosy."
Legroom (or the lack thereof) - Look, unless you pay the extra $$$ for the "plus" accomodations (or whatever they call that extra six inches of room), you're packed in like fans at a Who concert, and you feel just about that safe. I always sit next to the window so that I at least don't have to get up to let people go to the bathroom.
The Flight - Because I usually go Indy -Chicago - Vancouver, the long leg of the flight runs at least 4 hours. Now, that might be nothing compared to a New Zealand flight or something, but it's still one hell of a long time for someone like me to sit in one spot. I get bored. Oh, so terribly bored. If I'm lucky, I can sleep through part of it, but that usually only takes up about a cumulative hour. Then I have to pray that the in-flight movie is something I can hack. Fat chance, though. If my choices are, say, "Superbad," "Spider-Man 3," "Die Hard 4" and "Stella's Waiting to Exhale Fried Steel Magnolias," what movie do you think my flight is going to feature? Almost every movie I've ever been offered on a plane features either Julie Roberts, Nicole Kidman, or Sandra Bullock. I find myself being overjoyed when it ends up being some animated kids movie. The best part is that United, which I usually fly, features a sitcom or two after the movie, and it's usually The Office.
Waiting to get off the plane - What the hell is the problem? It shouldn't take half an hour to get my ass off a runway. And the folks getting their overhead stuff down...cripes! First of all, how much crap do you need to carry on? I see people bring on four items, then never once go to those parcels during the flight. There's such a thing as checked luggage, you know! I carry one small DVD player bag with me that has all my stuff in it (ipod, medicines, paper, pens, itinerary, etc.). It's small enough to fit under my seat, so I don't have to piss around with the overhead storage when it's time to...GET OFF THE @#$% PLANE!!!
I'll endure it all, though, every godforsaken moment of it, because the treasure at the end of it is worth any amount of struggle...