It was the last leg of my journey, Houston to Atlanta, and I was exhausted. After a five-day business trip spent mostly with people I’d never met before, my introversion was wearing thin. I wanted to get on the plane and just melt in to my seat.
I walked down the very roomy aisle. Only two seats on each side. Nice, I thought. There was unusual headroom and wide rows. I was impressed. As I plopped myself down, a very young girl said vibrantly, and it seemed maybe a little too loudly, “Hi, how are you?” Dang! An extrovert, I grumped to myself. I smiled, and said, “I’m good, you?” She looked to be about 16 or 17, with teal colored fingernail polish peeling from her nails, but had to be at least 18 because she had brightly inked butterflies and flowers tattooed across both tanned shoulders.
She said, “I don’t know which seat is A and which is B.” Hmmmm. I knew jolly well that I had an aisle seat and I wasn’t parting with it. I looked up at the little diagram above my head. “This one is B; and that one is A,” I explained. “Oh, OK,” she responded.” I reached for the card in the pocket to see what kind of a plane we were on. I’d never flown one of these before. “This is a nice plane,” I said to her. She chuckled, almost laughing at me. “Well,” she said. “It’s not one of their fancier ones. I’ve flown much bigger planes from Houston to Atlanta.”
I began to wonder if I was old and out of touch. Maybe this was just some old raggedy plane they’d dragged out of the aviation museum for one last trip. Why was I so attracted to it?
She began to treat me like someone’s grandmother. I mean, never mind that I actually AM someone’s grandmother. I couldn’t really be too hurt by it because she was so sweet about it. I guess because of my ignorance about planes, she seemed to think I’d never flown before. When the flight attendant said our bags must be stowed completely under the seat ahead of us, she grabbed my bag and turned it sideways and tucked it in good. This plane didn’t have those obnoxious bars in between each seat. Another nice feature of this “old” plane.
Then the flight attendant said, “If your feet are even touching your baggage you’ll need to stow it overhead.” The little girl said, “Just cross your legs. Haha. There’s always ways to get things done!” She was very proud of herself for this discovery.
The attendant continued with her instructions. The plane, she told us, was from United’s newest fleet. It is of the Embraer 170/171 series. It was designed with passenger comfort in mind with spacious seating areas and extra headroom. It’s got lots of new technology built in, with every seat in first class having its own electrical outlets. There are no monitors, but the plane has free WiFi available to all passengers with multiple kinds of entertainment on demand. I know that every passenger I saw had their own device(s); I had three with me.
Well! Humpf. So, as it seems, I haven’t quite lost it yet. It seems Grandma Babyboomer still has a keen eye for what’s new, sleek, and modern, and Little Miss Precious Gen Z could learn a thing or two from me. She didn’t irritate me, even at my most exhausted. I guess I still have some compassionate college professor/administrator left in me. So, I won’t retire just yet.
I closed my eyes as we took off and the skies became a little less friendly as I fell asleep. But I was happy.