“What I’d really like is a gin and tonic,” I joked with the flight attendant as she came by with her cart. “But since that’s not in the cards…” Beth (I asked her name later) interrupted me: “We can do that now!” Apparently, when the mask mandate was lifted on airplanes and other transportation recently, so was the ban on alcohol outside first class.
I paid for my drink, Beth acknowledging the discount I’d receive on my American Airlines credit card. As I sipped on my cocktail and read my book, I couldn’t help but smile. Travel was coming back to normal, and it was truly joyful.
I’d flown out to Washington, D.C. on a redeye. It wasn’t particularly comfortable and sleep was fleeting at best. But the reason for being on the east coast went incredibly well, and I was able to grab an earlier evening flight back home, eager to be with Judy and sleep in my own bed.
Earlier, I had been chatting with another passenger about the trials of frequent air travel as we worked our way down the jetway. We were agreeing on why we enjoyed flying American Airlines as we arrived at the door. Beth greeted us with a smile (even under her mask, you could tell she was smiling) and a chipper “how is your day?” I responded in kind, exchanging pleasantries as one should when people are being truly friendly.
Sitting on the aisle, my window partner and I kept our fingers crossed as the middle seat remained empty during boarding. When they closed the door, we both celebrated the little joy on a flight that was announced as “completely full.” Texting Judy about this good fortune, she did joke about sending good karma.
This is what air travel should be, even when traveling domestically and in coach. We are thrown together into a narrow aluminum tube for a few hours. We should try to be civil to one another. We lost much of that civility during the pandemic, but with the mask mandate being lifted, perhaps we can come back together as a traveling public, embracing the GOOD that travel brings us. Having people like Beth on our flights – taking care of us, being kind, and sharing joy – is one of the first steps. Thank you, Beth, for being that shining light. I am grateful that you and your fellow flight attendants are doing your best to make people happy. Let’s all do our best to follow their example.
There’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored. Flying is fun again, so let’s celebrate the joy of traveling together!
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