Loading the Plane

BeetlesI miss the recession.  

That is, I have moments where I miss the go get ‘em, scrappy attitude of the downturn, especially as I pass by a gym that specializes in “artisanal fitness,” which appears to be a cross between parkour, fire juggling, and coffee.

Perhaps being a resident of San Francisco makes me especially cynical about this. In this city, the idolatry and funding of companies that aren’t even yet profitable makes me wonder how many Occupy protesters have hung up their youthful indiscretions for overpaid jobs at Twitter, Facebook, Google, or Salesforce. I am stunned by the transition, with one bedroom apartments fetching a pretty penny — or 350,000 of them — landlords stacking 6 bunkbeds to a studio and renting sleeping places, and the elderly being ejected from their homes.

But poking some fun at it, at how incredibly ridiculous it all is – the wealth, the classifications, the boxes we all get pushed into or are trying to break out of – makes it more tolerable. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the logistics of loading an airplane, which if we were totally honest about it, might sounds something like this.

Will people who need extra time come to front: people with disabilities (such as families) or those in wheelchairs.  If you didn’t get a wheelchair assist and you are in crutches – too bad.

Please may we have the delight to board our ever so generous global service members?

Any uniformed armed services peeps out there? Come on up.

Next out this gate –  premiere members?

Platinum members?

Gold-tinted members?

Great, we will now begin boarding group 1.

(Sir, you are not group 1. Please go back to your group. I don’t care that you have an i-watch, who doesn’t?  Next time buy the gold one and, maybe, MAYBE, I’ll let you in before the rest.)

Okay, before we get to the plebeians.

Are there any other fat people out there (rich fat, not poor fat.  One is totally accepted while the other is just disgusting) who typically fly and have status with another airline, but had to fly ours today for whatever reason?

Any Tesla owners?

Jimmy Choo wearers?

We still need some poor sap to give up their seat because we fucking over-booked this flight and now are making you feel guilty enough to entirely change your plans for a paltry sum that just went up from $200 to $300. We may start an auction for this seat since you are all cattle anyway. We know you already paid out the nose for your current “seat,” but you have to be ready to go the distance.

Okay, because we are legally obligated, I guess we will begin boarding the human detritus. Boarding Group 2. 


… 3?

(Heavy sigh) 

Group 4?

I can’t even be bothered to call 5, just fall in behind the rest of the wasted space.

Oh… by the way, the overhead bins have filled up since first class (they can bring whatever they want on their airplane, *even the wine they bought in Napa.) We will “complimentary” check your bags like we used to do before we changed our business model to vultures. Rather than charge the actual cost of a flight based on distance and lane options and fuel. We will fuck around with the cost and just add profit margin by charging you to carry and check that necessity, luggage.

Thank you for flying the friendly-ish skies.


Image: Vintage 1923 Beetle Insect Print


  1. YN

    This reminds me of a schadenfreude-laden NYT piece mocking a millionaire law partner for complaining about being ignored as badly as the “staff” by the billionaires at his kid’s ultra-exclusive private school’s fundraising event. Specifically: this is spot-on in pointing out the petty classism even among the wealthy, and yet utterly unacknowleding of the serious classism that pervades our society and devastates poor people’s lives. Instead of a puff piece that lets privileged liberals chuckle at the snobbery of those who are even more privileged, how about expanding your horizons by spending an hour listening to a few of the many ignored homeless people in SF, then writing about your struggle to reconcile their experiences with your privilege?

    • steph

      I don’t know the specific NYT piece you’re referring to, but it makes me think of the Louis CK bit about how absolutely amazing it is that we can fly in the air in a metal box! That said, I do think that the classism that this piece pokes fun at is quite tied to the whole picture of wealth disparity. it feels pretty extreme in SF right now, where people who make descent salaries by any other standards can barely afford to live here, and many are actively being evicted.

      We would love a piece for Small Answers more directly on homelessness as well! Let us know if you have any interest in writing it! =)

    • Dear YN,
      Hey! Thank you for the nod to a nytimes piece. I think that is the nicest compliment I’ve had in a very long time.

      I am impressed with your passion, and you are right this was a puff piece. I wasn’t writing a nitty gritty piece about classism and all the items surrounding it like race, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity. I was writing a light hearted post poking fun at an industry that, I believe, has changed for the worse over the years. And I appreciate you taking the time to not only read it, but to also respond.

      I’ll personally never understand why “shaming” (for lack of better word) is used to make a point. (Actually I blame the dogs, remember that spate of dog shaming on the webz a little while back? I heard that 89% of those dogs changed their behaviour after seeing themselves online – signs hung on their neck besides something naughty they had done.) Rather than telling me what do by expanding my horizons (of which you know nothing about) or telling me what to write, I encourage you to reach out to SA and let them know the kind of pieces you’d like to read, or better yet write one yourself .

      The idea you outline above sound amazing. I would be delighted to read a piece of yours and, as Steph mentioned, I know she and Leda would be more than excited to publish you.


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