Bad news for people who are horribly parched at the airport at 5:59 a.m.: You can’t get a drink until 6. And by “drink” we mean, you know, a drink drink.
Good news: The Metropolitan Airports Commission wants the Legislature to change the law, so you can sip a screwdriver at O’Dark Thirty, which is completely normal and has nothing at all to do with your terror of getting belted into a seat and flung into the heavens.
Right? No. The airport bars open at 6 because some people are nervous about flying at 6:30, and want to tamp down the dread that blooms in their guts. It doesn’t matter that flying is safer than driving.
That said, when your car has trouble, you can pull over and call AAA. You never see a plane just hanging in the air, hood open, waiting for a tow. And what about those sounds? Even before you leave the gate, there are the horrible squeals of the cargo bay door. What are they doing down there, feeding swine into a band saw?
I used to be a nervous flier. Confession: I’d always have a beer before. Something to steady the nerves. Well, that didn’t work. Another beer. OK, OK, I can do this.
Then I’d pick up the phone and make the reservation.
Getting on the plane? Even worse.
For me, it was right up there with dentistry, which makes you wonder why they don’t perform root canals on airplanes. As long as you’re spun up, might as well get it all done.
No doubt there are practical reasons why we don’t have airplane dentistry (turbulence comes to mind), but at least you’d get a chair that leaned all the way back. On the other hand, if you think it’s annoying when someone leans their seat back all the way, imagine being behind the guy who’s getting his plaque scraped.
Another plus? Airborne dentistry would have access to nitrous oxide — you know, laughing gas, the stuff they give you at the dentist when you’ve got the jitters.
During a rough patch, the flight attendants could flood the cabin with the stuff. Even the frequent fliers who sleep through roller-coaster turbulence would appreciate it.
The downside of the airport tipple is obvious: You arrive at your vacation destination schmozzled and tired. You go to the pool, have a margarita because vacation! and fall asleep in your beach chair, only to awake lobsterized two hours later.
There’s a better way. Instead of opening bars earlier, have a string quartet playing soothing music at the gate.
“Oh, just like the Titanic,” a nervous flier might say.
Good point. Perhaps a harpist plucking gossamer melodies.
“They give you a harp when you get to heaven after you die — in a plane crash.”
You’re right. How about instead of handing out peanuts, flight attendants give you a rag soaked in chloroform?
It’s OK to be afraid to fly, but having a belt before you leap into the clouds doesn’t solve it. White-knuckle your way through a few flights, and you’ll feel your anxiety start to abate. Eventually you’ll be a confident flier who boards without the hummingbird heartbeat.
Ahh, who are we kidding? Take a later flight, get to the airport at 6, and do what you (hic!) must. Bon voyage.