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In which Steve came through

 

I wrote a post last week about how I was attempting to get to Phoenix and I was HOPING that nobody would sit in the center seat.  You should read that post HERE because I asked Steve (the guy who sat next to me) to write up the conversation and flight from HIS POINT OF VIEW.  So, for the first time ever I have somebody else posting (I suppose if you don’t count my brothers eulogy to my mom and my mom’s letter she wrote that is).  Hope you enjoy Steve’s post.  There MAY or MAY NOT be smart ass comments in italics. Those would be my opinions.

 

Hi Lynn,

I see you made it safely to California after such an adventure.  Yes, I made it home (early actually).  That’s if you consider I was supposed to be back home by Monday night, didn’t get home until Tuesday evening around 6:20 when I was destined to be home by 10pm.  So I made it home early!  I had a chance to check out your blog and your post about the trip.  I promised I would add some material so here you go.

I Just Want to Get Home

On Tuesday, July 26, I had the luxury (if that’s what you want to call it) (NOTE FROM ME: YES, that’s what I would call it) of sitting in the middle seat on a US Airways flight from Charlotte to Phoenix all in an attempt to get back home.  Like so many others travelling from the east coast, my flight the previous day was delayed then cancelled due to thunderstorms and various other issues.  Lack of flight crew availability, lack of planes, maintenance, on and on….blah, blah.  Good ole US Airways. They suck by the way.  Don’t ever fly with them if you can help it. (I can’t argue with them here…it took me 17 hours to fly from North Carolina to California) So after being re-booked, I finally leave the Virginia area and get to Charlotte where I have a better chance of getting back home to California.  I look at the big board (like I’m looking at the DOW or NYSE) and see there is a flight to Phoenix leaving in an hour and a half.  I find out upon arriving at the gate that it’s delayed for an hour.  No problem….  I’m booked on a 5 something PM flight so if I can get on this flight I’m winning!!!   I get to the counter and a frustrated but very nice agent graciously puts me on the standby list.  So now all I can do is pray.

The plane arrives at the gate and passengers deplane.  After a while, they start boarding the plane and I’m standing somewhat behind the ticket counter watching the agent check people in.  I notice on the screen that every time she scans a boarding pass, the number of available seats goes down.  Hmmmmm…. I never saw that before.  (I never knew this BTW) So I’m eagerly watching as the remaining passengers get on.  Everyone checked in and there are two passengers who are on the manifest that did not check in.  They call another passenger on standby and he gets a sit.  I get called and so does another woman on the standby list.  They tell us to wait as they check the plane to see if there are any open seats available.  The phone rings at the desk and they say they have one seat left.  Seat 8E!!!  The infamous and always dreaded middle seat.  I felt like I was on ‘The Price is Right’!!  Our next contestant is Steven…Come on down!! 

I enter the plane and see the lone open seat between a Caucasian female and African American male.  They look at me and I look at them and politely say, “I think I’m there.”  As you all probably read in an earlier post by Lynn, the conversation went exactly how she stated.  She said they didn’t want me and other joking remarks.  I took it like a trooper because I didn’t get the vibe that they were serious and they looked harmless. (Hahaha … famous last words)  After a few minutes of small talk, it turns out that this might not be such a bad trip sitting in this middle seat.  I later learn that to my right is James and to my left is Lynn. 

Out of the four hour trip, the three of us probably talked three plus hours of it.  Everything from what we all did for a living, marriage, politics (which can be a touchy subject so I try to step lightly), when even help James with a part of his presentation his is giving.  Lynn jokes him about his nice pack of unopened index cards and the many electronic devices he had.  (If the truth be known, I actually gave him a bunch of shit the entire time about his index cards) One very interesting conversation was about African Americans and flying. 

I believe the conversation came up because the three of us were saying how it is interesting that it is rare you can sit next to someone on a plane and have a decent conversation.  (Actually, what really happened is that BOTH James and Steven pointed out that they almost NEVER talk on planes and then I asked WHY NOT? And they launched into this conversation about African Americans and flying) Most people don’t talk on planes.  James and I pointed out that a good percentage of African Americans do not fly.  It’s like swimming.  A good percentage of blacks don’t swim.  They don’t like the water.  They don’t like planes.  I made the comment that blacks do one of two things when they fly….listen/watch movie/music or sleep.  Not all I stated, but a good majority.  You have your African American business people (like James) who bring work materials or some read a book.  Lynn looked a bit puzzled.  So James and I said, “look around.  How many African Americans do you see on the plane?”  Lynn takes a quick glance and says, “Oh shit!  I think I’m sitting next to the only two African Americans on this plane.”  (OK, don’t shit a brick here! It was obvious that I was making fun of the situation) Out of roughly 150 passengers, I think there were less that 8 that were African American.  I think Lynn found that to be quite an interesting analysis.  (What was incredibly interesting was that these two men were saying things to me that if I HAD SAID THEM out loud, I would be considered completely biased and stereotypical.  They however, said the stuff like it was NO BIG DEAL.  That’s what was amazing and that’s why I had Steven write this up)

James and I hopefully were able to shed some light on African Americans and flying.  It is strictly our opinion and should not be treated as gospel!  Lynn figured this post would be better coming from one of us being that we are African American.  So here you go. 

Steven

 

So what do you guys think?  True? Not true? It was interesting to me how they could make such generalizations and it was OK because it was about themselves.  I had a great flight and was happy to make their acquaintance and just wanted to share this conversation with you.  Have a great day!

 

Lynn

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4 Comments

  1. Paulette
    August 2, 2011

    Wow, I’ve never thought about that. But if I recall my recent trips back and forth from Orlando last week, then yeah. There were only a handful of non-white people on any of my flights. I did find it VERY strange that I was the only brown person in all of the St Louis airport during my layover.

    Well, easily identifiable brown person. A woman from Panama sat next to me on the plane (she got stuck in the middle!) so there must have been more…

    • RCB
      August 2, 2011

      From http://www.jaytravels.net/do-african-americans-travel/: “Do African Americans travel? Well of course we do – it’s just that simple. But why ask the question? In my experience, the perception held by many travel agencies, advertisers, travel providers and most unfortunately – many African Americans – is that as a segment we don’t. … As a demographic, African Americans have lagged behind others in the US due to decades of restrictions on free travel. These restrictions have become ingrained into the minds of many Black folk – to the point that I know people who are “proud” they haven’t been anywhere beyond the city in which they were born. The fact of the matter is, African Americans ARE traveling in greater numbers and it is important that we understand and embrace this fact – for ourselves and for the benefits we can receive from businesses catering to our demographic.

      There is already somewhat of a change on this front – American Airlines has launched Black Atlas – a travel blog specifically geared towards African Americans. American Airlines sponsors the site and the travel experiences are tailored to and provided by African American travelers.”

  2. NightVisions
    August 4, 2011

    It’s like family. YOU can talk about your family, but don’t be letting anyone else do it or there will be hell to pay (unless it’s my family, then you can say whatever you want; I’m easy…).

    • Lynn
      August 4, 2011

      There was no way that I could have repeated that without sounding completely stereotypic. Steven and James were great guys and I had fun even though I should have been sleeping no doubt.

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