Close encounters of aggravating kind

Traveling by commercial airline isn't fun, and if anyone tells you it is, they are high-flyin' fibbers.
I said it.
And I say this even though my oldest son is a pilot for a commercial airline.
It's because of his job that the publishing duo in Ouray County gets to fly anywhere for next-to-nothing to no charge at all. Which, with ill relatives in other states to tend to and a granddaughter to get to, flying at a cost of next-to-nothing really, really helps keep the bank account grounded.
Flying the way we do, we literally take what's left. We're at the bottom of the seniority list for free flying, so we're always at the bottom of the standby list. Sometimes we get bumped to the next flight, which can make for an unpredictably long day at the airport.
We've learned a few things flying this way over the past year.
One, never ever check a bag. It's entirely possible that bag will make the next flight, even if we don't.
Two, never try to fly standby during holidays and three-day weekends. Imagine Fourth of July in Ouray on steroids.
And three, be nice to the employees of the airline on which you fly for free. They know you're flying free, so keep that attitude in your carryon bag.
There are other things I've learned, as well. I get a little short on patience in crowds. Maybe it's because I live in a county with only one traffic light or where a mule deer in the middle of County Road 24 constitutes a traffic jam. Why, having to park a block off Clinton Street in Ridgway seems like an annoyance.
I spent all day in Denver's airport Sunday and had my share of close encounters of the aggravating kind. Which led me to wonder, what do others find annoying about air travel.
I asked the Google:
1) Talking loudly on your cell phone. There is always one over-aged hipster on the flight to Austin wearing skinny jeans and a sporty jacket who is requiring an underling to be on the phone with him the entire time he waits for his flight.
2) Emitting an offensive odor. Too bad TSA screening doesn't catch this.
3) Playing music too loudly. Seeking peace and quiet in an airport is a bit much to ask, I guess.
4) Coughing or sneezing without covering your mouth. Didn't your mother teach you anything?
5) Treating the flight crew like, well, you should know better. And if you don't know better, I hope you don't own a dog.
6) Pushing, pulling or kicking on the seat in front of you. Unless you're three years old, grow up and sit still.
7) Pretending you can't handle flights without your 70-pound dog by your side. And people made fun of the movie "Snakes on Planes."
Amazingly, I didn't experience any of these on my last trip. I did have a guy come sit next to me in the gate area and crowd my armrest. Not unusual, except there were only five people in all of the gate area and maybe 70 seats open.
It was a relief when I finally landed in Montrose just past midnight. When I turned onto County Road 1 to take the back way to Log Hill, I soon caught up to a truck doing maybe 20 mph. Joy of joys, I followed it home, doubling my CR 1 time.
So good to be back in the wide open spaces of the San Juans.


Alan Todd is co-publisher of the Ouray County Plaindealer. He can be reached at