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Kermet Apio's Laugh Corner

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November 2004


A Frequent Flyer’s Lament


Any transplanted islander knows all too well the experience of flying to Hawaii. I often fly home for work or for my family’s annual “You’ve Gained Weight” festival. Flying is, at best, unpleasant. But just as the thought of being in one spot for six hours frightens a person with the attention span of a latte-chugging ferret, the alternative to flying to Hawaii is six days on a fishing boat, which loses to the middle seat in coach by a very tiny margin.

The airport recommends that for an over-water flight you show up at the airport a day-and-a-half early. The reason is that they want you to be there early enough to enjoy the $9 airport egg bagel (cream cheese costs extra). While standing in the line at security, be sure to take out your boarding pass, I.D., laptop computer, belt, shoes, pants, pacemakers, tooth fillings, and if you look like me, a thick book to read while they do the special “random” screening on you and your bags. And don’t take nail clippers. They will be confiscated. It’s Homeland Security’s fight against people who threaten to file down your pinky nail.

When you board, you will find out that the person sitting next to you decided that a claw foot bathtub in a duffel bag is a carry-on item so the only place for your bag is under the seat in front of you in a space just big enough to swipe your credit card. Unless you’re in the Exit Row (or as I call it “Cousins Of The Gate Agent Row”), your seat will be the perfect size for an Elmo doll. And chances are you’ll be sitting between two Husky linemen from Waianae who have single-handedly put buffets out of business, so your kidneys will serve as armrests. For six hours.

Then there are the decisions you have to make. Do I want the chicken or the tastes-like-chicken? Should I read the in flight magazine or the newspaper the person in front of me is reading? How bad do I really want to see a Ben Affleck romantic comedy? Should I wake the guy who is sleeping on my shoulder or use his big hair as a pillow?

When you first see the windward side of Oahu it all seems worth it. From the air, Hawaii is as beautiful as any place I’ve flown to. And you know when you see people you love, eat food you’ve longed for, and revisit places you miss, six hours doesn’t seem so long.

When I was a kid in Ewa Beach it seemed like you could touch the descending planes. I always wondered where those people were coming from and if I’d go there someday. Now I fly so much I write columns whining about it. Pretty cool, huh? Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go pick big hair out of my t-shirt.

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