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Louis C.K. has a classic bit about how spoiled people are when they are flying. It’s pretty funny. He talks about how folks complain about not being able to get internet during a flight and… well I bring this up because I totally agree with him most of the time, but yesterday was a different story. It should have been a relatively routine, pain in the ass, takes-too-long-international-flight. Any American Prague expat knows what I’m talking about. Unless you have a ton of money or airline connections you expect to be exhausted and disheartened when you finally land.  I was not expecting to walk into a dirty plane full of people who were pre-disgruntled, loud and messy. And that was just the beginning.

My boyfriend and I signed up for the cheapest flight to Houston. That was our choice and probably the reason why each and every leg of the trip was its own unique torture. The itinerary was as follows: Prague —-> Warsaw (five-hour layover) —–> Chicago (two hours for customs, baggage claim, re checking luggage and reissue of tickets) —–> Houston. We flew with LOT airlines (Polish Air) and it was quite possibly the craziest, weirdest flight ever. I felt like I was trapped in a tin can with 100 monkeys.

For starters, the plane was a mess before and after the flight. People just left their trash on the floor, in the chairs and possibly even in the trash bins but I don’t have proof of that last one. At one point I went to the lavatory and saw five plastic cups on the floor, two in the counter and one in the toilet. What else… let’s see, a woman across the way from us started screaming half way through the flight because the old babushka behind her literally push her seat forward with both hands because she didn’t like having the seat close to her. (I saw the whole thing!) The old dude behind me was kind enough to “help” me adjust my own seat whenever I got up. Sometimes he did it while I was still in my seat. Oh, and the flight crew was so nonplussed by anything that they never told the passengers to close the window shades. The entire 12 hour flight was bright and sunny. Perfect conditions for noting. At all. Especially sleeping.

The fine folks at LOT served us some sort of rubbery pate accompanied by turkey with vegetables and ketchup. I have no idea what that yellow hard yet mushy thing was, but CR said it smelled like a dill pickle. Later, they also gave us some funky sandwiches. Lucky for us, I thought ahead and packed snacks and some not so funky sandwiches. But, some people were into it. The lady across the aisle from me ate all of hers and all of her neighbors as well. 

We needed to get through customs and baggage claim as quickly as possible in Chicago because we had to catch a connecting flight. While we were waiting in line to tell the customs folks that we didn’t bring any fruit over, we were treated to a bizarre propaganda promotional video about America. It was full of happy, smiling, All American people of every race, gender and creed doing lots of really American things like going to school, riding bikes and having a BBQ. The music in the video was a cross between a Speilberg movie and Aaron Copland’s Hoedown. I especially liked all of the happy, smiling interracial couples gazing into each others eyes. I also enjoyed the two ladies happily chatting outside of a mosque. Wearing traditional Islam dress.  Welcome to America. 

The rest of the trip went about the same. We had more delays and more people annoying us which probably felt worse because we had been traveling for about 25 hours. Like Louis C.K. said – you really don’t have anything to complain about – you are sitting in a chair that is flying through the air. It is incredible. But, I have a feeling that Louis C.K. never flew with LOT airlines. 


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