It wasn’t until he heard and fully decoded the word ‘Airbus’ that he could put words to why he disliked air travel so much.
Airplanes were very much like buses. You would sit in an uncomfortable chair for hours at a time, there would be constant vibrations and noise, and your chair would move unpredictably with the terrain.
But, as a way of seeing the world before you retired, planes were still essential. The only other real option in his price range was a sailboat, and he’d never liked sailing. In theory, it seemed like a great idea. Lots of fun calculations about wind speed, wind direction, sail orientation, and current direction. Lots of fun words like tacking, jibs, and mizzenmast.
The worst part was that he had to wear a Hawaiian shirt and shorts. At least he got to wear sunglasses.
“Attention all passengers, we are preparing for descent into Tokyo. Please return to your seat and restore your tray tables and seats to their upright positions.”
The plane landed. Disembarking was always such a trial. You could see the tarmac through the window, and you *knew* there were multiple ways out of the aircraft. For someone who knew every exit out of a building (and used each of them, for practice), being funneled out the front was galling.
As they left the plane and moved down the corridor, he took advantage of his costume to push forward through the crowd. He was pretty sure he hadn’t been followed to the airport, but someone could have sliced his fake ID and been ready to swap suitcases before he got there. He was more than able to operate with just the clothes on his back, but he would feel far more comfortable with the shoes made from gum in his checked luggage.
But he needn’t have worried. He reached the baggage carousel, but it had not even started moving yet. The next one over was carrying one lonely bag with a pink tag, around and around. Squinting, he could see that the pink tag said ‘Priority’. The bag continued to go around. Around and around.
An alarm! ‘His’ carousel was starting up! But no suitcases were coming out yet. His gaze wandered back to the lonely ‘Priority’ bag on its endless quest. He couldn’t stop the unbidden thought: “There are only so many times the bag labeled ‘Priority’ can go around before you decide it is mislabeled.”
Back to his carousel, suitcases were starting to emerge. There his was! And it had the monofilament string around it, still intact. He’d still need to check, but that was a good sign. Grabbing it, he made his way towards customs.