I’m On The Floor At LAX

Good afternoon from LAX’s Southwest Airlines Gate 5. I’m in no rush. We’re delayed.

Actually we’re on “double secret probation” delay! Gate 5 has two flights listed on its LCD screens. Flight 3212 to SFO is listed at “Delay 2:15.” Our LAX-BNA-BDL flight is just listed as “Delay.” We are guaranteed to leave late. There’s no guarantee how late!

I’m told old for this, right? No, not the flying or delay part. My ‘too old’ observation refers to sitting on the floor on a piece of carpeting so thin it’s possible the pattern was put on in a laser printer! The hard floor is no softer through this faux pile.

LAX is always busy–today included. There was a “pre-mouse maze” before taking the escalator to the “mouse maze” for TSA.

“Do you have any bottles or liquids? Any drinks?” asked the TSA agent.

“No. Are you serving?” asked Helaine.

Nice, but how did that not get us secondary screening? She’s fast. You can’t be funny if you’re not fast.

As we repacked beyond the x-ray machine another TSA agent walked a man in a festive t-shirt to the wall.

“Stand here please and face your bags.” The agent was pleasant but firm.

The man offered up he was a surgeon (note to self: Surgeons should wear suits while flying and always look serious) and chatted up the agent until it was time for instructions. I can’t give you a full verbatim, but the surgeon was told he was about to be touched. Did he mind the groping taking place in public or would he like a private grope. We left.

Sitting on the floor I am at shoe top level. I can observe while remaining reasonably invisible. If you’re a people watcher have I got a seat for you!

Oh, a question. Why do pilots still wear billed caps they take off as soon as they enter the cockpit?

17 thoughts on “I’m On The Floor At LAX”

  1. The cap is a “hold over” from the military influence that was first evidenced when the airline industry was in its infancy. In the beginning, (sounds almost biblical) many airlines had strong military ties, and a large percentage of their pilot corps came from the ranks of the US military. Today, that is not the case, and most airline pilots are now civilian trained. The percentage today is about 55/45. Military careers have become more attractive and more stable for a lot of military pilots, therefore the shift in where the pilot population comes from. At my airline, the cap has in fact, become optional. Have a safe flight home!! You are now free to move about the cabin!!

  2. If you get bored people watching, here’s a couple of links to keep you busy.
    Have you seen these yet?

    Scientists warn California could be struck by winter ‘superstorm’

    PBS’ Nova: Deadliest Earthquakes (50 mins long)

    Either way, I wouldn’t want to live in Cali!! (Although, I do have a bunch of friends living there.)

  3. If you get stuck in Nashville check out the Hotel Preston. It is a very cool hotel right near the airport. You can request a complementary goldfish, and they have a pillow menu.

  4. Pilots still wear the hats, and hopefully always will to present a position of authority and to maintain a professional appearance. At my airline ( a major US carrier) it is a required uniform item and must be worn while in public. They ( the pilot) can actually be disciplined by the company or Chief Pilot for non compliance. And you are right they are off as soon as the flight deck door opens.

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