Jay Cronley: Seasonal flying is for the birds
BY JAY CRONLEY World Staff Columnist
Friday, December 21, 2012
12/21/12 at 3:21 AM
Flying in the winter is such fun, unless you want to try to get from here to Nashville and back for a reasonable amount of money.
According to my figures, you could fly to Barcelona for about the same as what Nashville costs, and almost as quickly. That's because airlines divide up the city services, with the least expensive rates involving oddball and tight-fitting connections. My routes almost involved Tulsa-Mexico-Nashville going, and Nashville-Canada-Tulsa returning.
As one of the gate clerks said, while trying to get me nearer home as the winter storm wound up to hit, there aren't that many flights that go into Tulsa after dark, are there?
I was in the St. Louis airport so long on the return trip that I went through a shift change of gate clerks.
When a few flights out of a northern city are canceled, the freeze-out can reach out and collar many; when 100 flights are canceled, you become an airport creature, almost delirious with fatigue and capable of leaving your billfold on the biscotti during any of 15 coffee shop visits. Or was it 17?
Music country: Nashville is a big-league city, NFL season record aside, a major player in the health care and music industries.
People headed toward Nashville carry guitars with the naturalness of carrying golf clubs to Hilton Head or cash to Vegas.
The city has milked the music imagine to such an extent that you don't even have to be all that good to get a gig - even people who have never been anything can sing off-key and be accepted as part of the artistic fabric.
Colorfulness and tunefulness can be equally important.
The answer to questions concerning the identity of who lives in that mansion on the hill is almost always, "Somebody in music."
The Nashville look is considerably more country than Western, Neiman-Marcus rough and slightly sissy tough.
Interminable terminal: Airport zombies have been up since dawn and have barely missed connections and have been downing coffee and eating piece after piece after piece of cheese pizza as if by rote, stuck how long - five hours, six?
Connections with reality fade.
Hallucinations draw near.
Wasn't that the voice of the woman in accounting I just heard?
Wasn't that my college roommate in the bar?
Sorry, it's nobody, again.
Then when you finally get on the last flight in, surrounded by babies seemingly born that morning, as people are trying to cram cellos into the overhead compartments, flying the week before Christmas is no longer for the birds.
But it's close.
Original Print Headline: Seasonal flying is for the birds