Sweet Revenge at LAX

In my opinion, airports can bring out the best and worst in people.  Although, the worst is usually what’s on display! Below is a story that I couldn’t resist because it not only shows how far some individuals have fallen off the social order, it also highlights the sweet, sweet revenge that can be bestowed upon their absolutely terrible behavior.

On a recent flight from LAX to Tokyo, Comedian and T.V. Personality, Steve Hofstetter, encountered a self-absorbed, fellow passenger who went as far to let her dog relieve itself in the terminal without cleaning it up and that was just the beginning. Her unruly behavior continued but I’ll let Steve tell the story as it unfolded:


While walking to my gate at LAX, I noticed a woman whose dog was in the middle of doing its business. The woman was loudly face-timing with her back to the dog, so I assumed she didn’t notice. That was likely the thought shared by the gentleman who tried to get her attention.

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Photo credit: Sean Smith

“Excuse me, miss?” he said, in a polite tone. The woman glared at him. “Your dog,” he sheepishly continued, pointing to the mid-poop pup.

The woman rolled her eyes and went back to face time as the man slinked away, seemingly embarrassed. “Some people,” she bellowed to her face-time companion with no hint of irony, “are just so damned rude.” When her dog finished, the woman started walking away, leaving everything right on the airport floor. Another woman tried to stop her.

“You’re not going to clean that up?” she asked, as shocked as the rest of us were. “They have people for that,” the offender replied, disappearing into the crowd, as much as someone yelling into their phone can disappear into a crowd. I stood near the pile and warned people to walk around it while someone else got a maintenance worker’s attention. No one said anything – we were so shocked that anyone could be that horrible.

When I got to my gate, the woman was there, too. Great – we were both going to Tokyo. When I travel abroad, I get embarrassed by other Americans doing things one hundred times less embarrassing than leaving animal feces on the floor of an airport. To make it worse, her dog was now barking at everyone who walked by. I have nothing against people flying with their dogs, I do it often. But it is a privilege I take seriously. My dog is well-trained and behaves better than most people. He certainly behaves better than that asshole. Speaking of assholes, there is a pet relief area inside LAX, past security, just two gates away from where The Party Pooper let her dog go to town. It didn’t matter – she was the type of person to litter three feet from an empty garbage can.

While her dog barked at the world, the woman had moved from face-timing with no headphones to listening to music with no headphones. I don’t like to throw around the word “sociopath” but I don’t know how else I could explain just how selfish and terrible of a person she was. I’d bet her car was somewhere in long-term parking, parked across three spots with paint on the bumper from the child’s bike she hit without leaving a note.

Everyone else tried to ignore her, sitting as far away from her as they could. I am not everyone else. I sat down right next to the horrible woman. “Are you going to London on business?” I said. “I’m going to Tokyo,” she responded gruffly, annoyed that I interrupted her DJing. “Oh, I said. Then you better hurry. That flight got moved to gate 53C. This is the flight to London.”

I figured I could give her a little moment of panic as payback for how terribly she was treating everyone. I didn’t predict what would happen next. She grabbed her bags and her dog in a huff, and stormed out of the gate without even checking. She was so self-involved, she didn’t notice that the monitor at our gate still said Tokyo and almost everyone at the gate was Japanese. 

Based on her actions, she believed me that the fight had been moved, so she’s also an asshole for not thanking me. “Some people,” I thought as I watched her rush away from the gate without stopping her, “are just so damned rude.” The flight to Tokyo was at gate 69A, so the 53 gates were on the other side of the next terminal. And I felt guilty knowing she probably berated some poor clerk who had to explain to her that there was no gate 53C.

I don’t know if she made it back to this flight before we took off or not, but I didn’t see her board and I don’t hear her dog. Her missing her flight was not my original intention, but it would be a fine punishment for her being so rude to everyone and making a low-paid stranger clean feces off the floor. What makes me wonder if I went too far is the knowledge that Delta only has one flight to Tokyo each day. Whoops. Maybe she can re-book on another airline. I hear they have people for that.


Steve is currently on tour and you can follow him on on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit.  Check out his Youtube page for clips from past shows and other T.V. segments he has appeared. Thanks Steve…you are a champion of airport relations!

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*This story was published with permission.  All rights reserved.

Travel Time: IND-ORD-SFO

This trip took me to San Francisco via Indianapolis and Chicago. The day started with a dense, ghostly like fog to the point where I could barely see the signs into airport and the parking lot. Unfortunately I had to drive due to the lack of early morning Ubers. IND is an easy shot from my place so it’s not a big imposition. img_2145After parking, a creepy figure standing at the shuttle bus waiting area which ended up being just a nice lady with big hair. I would have loved to get a photo but the bus was bearing down on me so I had to pass.

For the first time in hundreds of flights, I was almost late. Of course my definition of being on time means having a comfortable amount of waiting before take off. Pre check was packed which is what led to timing issue but I made it fine.

The first leg was IND to ORD which is only about an hour from take off to touch down. Because it’s early I’m usually asleep before ever taking off. I find the thrust very soothing. As you can see, Chicago looked peaceful from 10,000 feet yet I’m not naive enough to things that’s true. Being originally from Illinois it saddens me to see what’s happening to that city. I still enjoy Chicago and ORD but has its share of issues. What city doesn’t?

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Chicago from 10,000 feet.

Thanks to our friends the Canadian plane manufacturers, we had to gate check all the roller boards since I guess up north you don’t carry on anything bigger than a child’s backpack. This is always entertaining when we deplane with the bottle necking that inevitably occurs on the jet way. Every time there is the one ass hat who

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Rebel or douche…

thinks he’s too good to stand in line for the gate checked bag. Probably the guys who drives a large loud vehicle and has a tiny you-know-what. Another guy stepped up and ran him off…good for you, bro!

The longest leg of the trip went great, especially since it was in a new aircraft and there was an empty seat between me and the guy in the window seat.  Sometimes being in the back of the plane has its perks too. There were plenty of entertainment options to the 4+ hours went by without noticing.

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Empty seat!

There was quite a bit of turbulence both right after take-off and as we approached SFO but nothing that set off my alarms. A few people around me started gasping but it wasn’t that bad.

SFO is a nice airport and I plan on giving it a review in a few months. At least the B terminal is clean and has lots of dining and retail options. It even has a Yoga studio somewhere on grounds which is not surprising. The airtrain is extremely efficient and quickly gets you from point to point. Once I reached the rental car garage I got a free upgrade and was on my way.  Off to rainy San Fran I go!

PortTik – LaGuardia (LGA) Part 1

Much like the city it serves, LaGuardia (LGA) airport can never fully be reviewed at one time so this will be a first installment in order for us to start understanding the complexity and vastness of this property and everything it represents. At first glance LGA looks like a couple of abandoned warehouses connected to a 1950s era mall with an air control tower situated right in the middle. Add in a few dozen parking lots, roads and freeways going every direction and (at the time of this post) everything within sight being currently under construction and you can start to get a visual of how this airport is laid out on the south bank of the East River. LGA is part vintage mixed with modern styles which changes every ten feet or less depending on which direction your heading. Some of its innards are up-to-date, clean and a charm to visit while other parts are worn out, dirty and make you think you flown into a third world county. It’s safe to say that with all that’s going on at LGA…the facility, the people, the good, bad and the outright icky…I’m confident that this airport is an exact representation of New York City which is why it’s one of my favorite places to visit when taking to the skies!

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First opened in 1939, LGA was built on a site of the former Gala Amusement Park in Queens, New York, approximately eight miles east of midtown Manhattan. Formerly known as both the Glenn H. Curtiss and the North Beach Airport, LGA’s name was officially changed in 1947 to honor then New York City Mayor, Fiorello La Guardia, who was in office at the time of its construction. He was also instrumental in persuading his fellow New Yorkers to support a new airport since he refused to recognize Newark as an official landing spot for the city. He worked with airlines like TWA and American to utilize the new airport and within a year of its inaugural flight, LGA became the busiest airport in the world.

laguardia-field-1939-2-mcnyLike many American airports, LGA was used as a military depot during WWII which gave way for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to take over operations in 1947. The 1960s brought major renovations to LGA as it quickly outgrew the main terminal on Grand Central Parkway. A new terminal was constructed along with the signature 150-foot air control tower which was in operation until 2006. LGA now hosts four terminal buildings with 72 gates and sits on approximately 680 acres across northern Queens. In 2015, over 28 million passengers flew in and out of LGA making it the 20th busiest airport in the U.S.

The interior of LGA changes by terminal and in some cases even from one side to the other. Most of it consists of thin hallways with taupe colored walls or gray paneling with low, drop ceilings and tiled floors. 2017-02-10-12-54-21The gates are relatively roomy with a good amount of seating depending again on which part of the airport you happen to be in. There is no lack of food or retail options in all of the terminals but room inside of their facilities can sometimes be a challenge. Of course, it wouldn’t be a real review without a least mentioning the restrooms. Like most of the older era U.S. airport, the entrances are too narrow and your chances of getting a stall with an unbroken coat hanger if fairly low. They have updated some of the restrooms but they are hit or miss. Specifically, for the men’s rooms, dividers at the urinals are a luxury so it’s time for me to start memorizing which one’s have them for my own comfort.

One of the more baffling things about LGA is the lack of a direct mass transit system from Manhattan to the airport. There are a plethora of cabs, buses, shared service rides, (apparently even fake Ubers) but no subway line. fake-uberThis is in contrast to both JKF and Newark who have rail services that serve passengers from NYC to the terminals. Although a real New Yorker or a savvy traveler can figure out how to use a combination of the subway and other means to get to and from LGA, the majority of visitors are left to rely on either slow or expensive transportation has the only options available. From what I understand, this is now being addressed through the expansion efforts currently underway. I imagine easing the congestion around the airport and remaining competitive with the other airports is the reason why this project has finally taken off.

LGA is not just an airport, it’s a part of the New York culture and a gateway for those who want to be a part of it. Millions of people from around the world have experienced one of the greatest cities on Earth because LGA with millions more to come. Yeah it may have its share of problems and visually it is about as appealing as a closed steel mill, but it’s still an amazing place with great things on the way. If you plan on heading to NYC and have a choice…well I would recommend the cheapest flight to whatever airport…but don’t count out LGA. You’ll won’t be sorry because…come on, you’re in New York…and that’s as good as it gets!

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To be continued…

First Classers (FCL)

Thoughts of first class travel bring forth a media manufactured image of grace and high society. This has been developed by years of movies and television programs showing the rich and famous sitting in the front rows of a 747 sipping glasses of champagne and having a short skirted stewardess cater to their every demand. jerry-macguireThe scene in Jerry Maguire where Renée Zellweger (Dorothy) leans forward to listen to Tom Cruise’s (Jerry) story about how he got engaged and then turning to her son saying “first class is what’s wrong. It used to be a better meal. Now it’s a better life” have been embedded in the minds of people everywhere.
Although this might have been based on reality back in the 60s, today the first class cabin is a much different view of what it used to be and has in many ways taking the glamour of high society out of the equation.

Those who frequent the first class cabin are no longer beautiful, rich people wearing expensive clothing and barking demands to the staff although that can still happen. mad-men-season-7Most who fly first class are frequent business travelers who have been awarded the seat through an upgrade and not by purchasing an outright first class ticket beforehand. The first several aisles are usually made up of men in jeans and company logoed jackets peppered along a few in suits, some desperate housewives and millennials who booked the flight using their parent’s credit cards. People who make a living traveling for work can build up their elite status fairly quickly which enable them to fly in luxury. Their constant time away from home is payment enough and many of them deserve the amenities that go with being in first class.

No matter how the ticket was awarded, the idea of a first class cabin still divides the airport population into two distinct classes: those who sit up front and the scrubs. Again, money is not really the issue. The high flying billionaires with ten thousand dollar handbags and ripped jeans that cost more than my car would never be caught dead in an airport. There are private airports for them that most of us will never see or experience. No, the first classers experience the flight in a different way than the scrubs starting from when they board to the plane, to the minute we step off at the final destination. They board first which makes sense in regards to priority however is not actually rational seeing that it would be easier for everyone to board the back of the plane first and build towards the front. Of course, logic is not a part of aviation so let’s not even analyze this little detail right now. The scrubs go through the preflight ceremonies, fighting for position amongst the others in their randomly chosen boarding group while the first classes are settled in, drinks in hand and ready to face the skies. The one fascinating thing about the first classes are their ability to quickly be engulfed into some sort of work or entertainment before the rest of us even get on board (BTW…why are first classers the only people on the planet who still read physical newspapers?). newpapers-memeLooking at them you would think that they had been sitting there for hours before having to endure the throngs on desperate eyed wannabes shuffling to their seats in the back. I have to hand it to the flight attendants and their ability to get the first classers drinks prepared and to them so quickly. Most of the time, they slip past you without you ever knowing they were there.

During the flight, the first classers are waited on by a prompt designated flight attendant and depending on the size of the aircraft, they have a separate restroom as well. Although, I have personally never flown first class, I can’t imagine it being any better than the ones in a normal cabin. Jerry Seinfeld’s questioning of the types of flowers in the bathroom are just another example of the media fed fiction that engulfs the first class world. seinfeldAgain, depending on the plane, the flight, the airline, etc., etc., the first classers can have many more advantages over their economy counterparts including free drinks, meals, enhanced entertainment options and sometimes seats that fully recline. When the expression “you get what you pay for” was first coined, I imagine the author was sitting in the cramped, middle seat in row 32 looking north and seeing a better world many aisles away.

One thing about the first class experience is that it really does begin and end with the flight itself. Many airlines have now even limited the access of their lounges to those who straight up bought a first class ticket and not someone who has been awarded one through their status or miles.majorca_airport_baggage_glitch-389949 There are no first class restaurants or parking options available and like the rest of us, they still have to lug their own bags on board or go through the painful ritual of baggage claim for checked luggage.
Even at the gate, until you start getting up to board, there is really no designated area for first classers and they are forced to sit with the rest of us scrubs. This keeps the first classers humble and their advantages concentrated to just one part of the overall flight experience.

I can say whatever I want about the first classers in order to justify my position but the truth is I would trade places with any of them in a second. Let me on first and give me my damn drink is what I’m shooting for and hopefully in due time, my own flight regiments will earn me the right to check that upgrade button and see my name flash across the confirmation screen. Until then, I will continue to waltz past them towards my place in the back and may or may not purposely let my shoulder bag brush the sides of their heads as I walk by. Enjoy yourself thoroughly first classers, I coming for you one flight at a time!trade-places