Starling Travel

July 10, 2015

Yet Another Seating Patent To Make Flying Miserable

Filed under: Airline Travel — Laura Moncur @ 3:25 pm

My friend, Tracy, posted this on Facebook with the best comment:

Should this catch on, I will never fly again.

She was referring to this article from NPR:

A company from France called, Zodiac Seats France, has applied for a patent using hexagonal chairs that face each other to save room.

Nightmare Airplane Seating from Starling Travel

Instead of the relative privacy of sitting in a row, you have to endure another person (or two) facing you the entire flight.

Nightmare Airplane Seating from Starling Travel

This isn’t the first time a company has tried to cram more passengers on a plane. Back in 2013, an Italian design firm thought that switching out your uncomfortable plane seat for a saddle would be better.

Airplane Torture Seats

Back then, I said:

THIS is why I drive our trailer all over the country instead of “saving” time flying. They don’t care about me. They don’t care about my comfort. All they care about is cramming me into a tighter and tighter space to maximize their profits.

To the airlines, we are not humans. We are cattle. We are to be packed into a plane so tightly that we cannot even move.

There is a special hell for the designers of both of these seats. They are continually trapped on the tarmac, waiting for their flight to be cleared in the bad weather. The fasten seat belt light is forever on and they are enclosed in their own inventions.

November 9, 2013

FAA Will Allow Airlines to Expand Use of Personal Electronics

Filed under: Airline Travel — Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am

Soon, you will be able to use electronic devices on a planeThe FAA is allowing airlines to use electronic devices during ALL phases of flight! Here is the press release from the FAA:

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Michael Huerta today announced that the FAA has determined that airlines can safely expand passenger use of Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) during all phases of flight, and is immediately providing the airlines with implementation guidance.

Due to differences among fleets and operations, the implementation will vary among airlines, but the agency expects many carriers will prove to the FAA that their planes allow passengers to safely use their devices in airplane mode, gate-to-gate, by the end of the year.

Right now, we have to turn off any electronic devices during takeoff and landing, which are such short amounts of time that I never found that to be a big problem. My biggest problem with flying is the near strip search before we get on and sitting on the tarmac for SEVEN hours without food. Until they solve those problems, I’m going to hitch up the trailer and DRIVE it every time.

Via: FAA: airline passengers may use electronic devices during all phases of flight

Image via: Even a Real Pilot Thinks We Should Use Cell Phones on Planes

November 8, 2013

Mad Magazine Skewers the Airline Industry

Filed under: Airline Travel — Laura Moncur @ 1:52 pm

I was looking at the most recent Mad Magazine, and they were making fun of all the fees that the airlines charges us, taking it to a crazy conclusion.

Click on the image to see it full-sized:

A La Carte Airlines from Starling Travel

It might seem crazy for an airline to charge you for an oxygen mask, but I wouldn’t be surprised if even more fees started showing up on our tickets.

I’ve talked about this before:

It has been almost thirty years since Carol Burnett skewered the airlines, but now, they have gotten JUST as bad as they portrayed. I wonder how long it will take until the airlines start charging us for unused barf bags, oxygen masks, seat belts and even the seats themselves.

August 20, 2013

Carol Burnett Show’s No Frills Airline

Filed under: Airline Travel — Laura Moncur @ 9:04 am

I’m sure this sketch was hilarious in the Seventies when it was aired on the Carol Burnett Show, but from the seats of the airlines in 2013, it’s like looking at what airline travel was in the past versus how it is now.

Look how HUGE the seats are! Look how much room there is between the seats and in the aisles. I realize this wasn’t a REAL airplane, but they tried to make it look realistic so that the audience would recognize that they were on an airplane. Here’s an advertising photo from that age, the seats and aisles really WERE that big.

Seventies Airlines had tons of room and big seats

Even more humiliating was the scene where the stewardess takes his coat and mashes it up.

No Frills Airline is better than we have today

She used it for an additional pillow for the first class passenger, but how many of you have had security do this EXACT same thing to the clothing you’re wearing during a security check? Not only that, they picked through my suitcase as well, until they found my nail clippers and “graciously” offered to let me “surrender” them.

Sometimes I feel like we are like the proverbial frog in a pot. If airline travel had been as miserable back in the Fifties and Sixties as it is today, the airline companies would never have been able to convince anyone to shell out the money to fly. We have been stewing in water that has heated to a boil slowly and this little froggie has hopped out. If they want me to fly, they can give me back a comfortable seat with more than six inches between me and the seat in front of me. Until then, I’ll drive.

August 15, 2013

17 Air Travel Tips from Hank Green

Filed under: Airline Travel — Laura Moncur @ 1:14 pm

The ever-effervescent Hank Green has some travel wisdom to impart on us about airline travel.

I hate to travel by airplane so much that I’d much rather drive for THREE days. Not everyone has that extra time, though, so these tips can come in handy.

Before the Flight

  • Don’t try to pack everything you could possibly need. Make some hard decisions and leave some of it at home. Get everything you can in ONE bag.
  • You’re not your best self on travel days because you’re going to be tired, stupid, cranky and smell kinda bad. You have permission to be that way.
  • Give EVERYONE else permission to be that way as well.

At Security

  • Liquids and gels go into the little ziploc bag. If they don’t fit in there, you’re not bringing them on the plane.
  • Peanut butter counts as a gel.
  • Take EVERYTHING out of your pockets when you go through security. Even a small piece of paper can look like a rocket launcher.
  • Be nice to the security people. They don’t make the rules, they just get into trouble if they don’t enforce them.
  • Don’t joke about pocket rocket launchers unless you want to eat the carpet.
  • If you wear a hoodie, you WILL be pulled aside for further screening. This is not profiling. There’s just a lot of room in that thing to hide stuff.


  • If you don’t have a big carry-on bag, you don’t need to hurry to get on the plane to make sure that you find a space. Just RELAX, wait to board until final boarding. You have an assigned seat. It’s going to be less comfortable than the one you have right now, so just CHILL.
  • When you’re boarding the plane, GET OUT OF THE AISLE!! You’re blocking traffic.
  • The people in first class look unhappy because they travel A LOT. It’s a miserable life, don’t envy them.

On the Plane

  • They won’t feed you, so bring a snack.
  • Bring an EMPTY water bottle to fill up AFTER you go through security.
  • Bring a REAL book, because they won’t let you use electronics during take off or landing.

On the Ground

  • If you have a connecting flight, check where it is FIRST thing off the plane. Even if you’ve been delayed three hours and think you’ve missed your connection, for all you know, the other plane was delayed as well. You don’t want to miss it if you don’t have to.
  • If you DO miss your connection, while you’re waiting in line to get your stuff rerouted, check online on your phone to see what could be available or call customer service because it’s better to be waiting in TWO lines if you can do two at the same time. You never know which line you’re going to get through first.

Honestly, I have a few comments on this list.

  • Packing everything for a three week trip in one tiny bag might be possible for some, but I’ve never achieved it. What are you wearing, Hank? Magic squishable clothes?

  • It’s NOT okay to be stinky on travel days, Hank. Sorry, but we are all trapped in a tin can together. We need to be clean and free from smelly perfumes to make this whole thing bearable for each other.

  • It’s sad and pathetic that we have become volunteers for strip searches. We PAY for the privilege of flying and in return, they send us through scanners that mistake a piece of paper for a pocket rocket launcher.

  • I can’t stress how true it is that they DO NOT FEED YOU. Even if you are stuck on the tarmac for SEVEN hours. Even if it takes TWELVE hours to get from Salt Lake City to John Wayne Airport, they will NOT feed you. When this happened to us, I was so grateful that I had packed not just a snack, but an entire meal for all of us. THEY WILL NOT FEED YOU!

  • After paying all that money for the privilege of being strip searched, starved and harassed about our Kindles, the planes aren’t even on time and it’s OUR responsibility to reroute ourselves when THEIR planes are late. How is that acceptable?

In the end, that three day drive across the country doesn’t sound all that bad, actually.

May 9, 2013

The People I Hate at the Airport

Filed under: Airline Travel — Laura Moncur @ 5:11 am

The incredibly funny Jenna Marbles is complaining about the kind of people who annoy her on airplanes. Be warned it’s laced with profanity…

I literally laughed when she smacked down the loud business cell phone talkers.

Hey, guess what? We’re in a small, enclosed space, so if you could just shut the BLEEP up, that would be fantastic! I mean, I know that you’re so BLEEPING important, and stuff like that. You’ve made that really clear, you know, but no one’s that important, like NOBODY. If Oprah was on this plane right now, she’d be kickin’ it.

I also liked the rant about the laptop loudies.

They have headphones in the front pocket. Put some on and STOP it!

Then, there are the armrest hogs of the world.

Armrest Hogs from Starling Travel

Oh, and line jumpers!

Get off your entitled high horse and get in line like everybody else!

All of this is EXACTLY why I don’t like to fly, but I love how she chilled out afterward.

I feel like half of the world’s disagreements could be solved by hugging a puppy for a little while.

In the end, airline travel feels like an unpleasant congress with strangers. The only reason we put up with it is because it turns a four-day drive into an eight-hour flight. When the four-day drive is in our own car with just us and we can stay every night in our tent trailer that feels like our own home, it’s a hard competition between the rudeness of the fellow fliers and the lazy enjoyment of a four-day drive.

Photo via: Müe, I feel your pain. by InfoMofo on Flickr

March 27, 2013

The Perks and Liabilities of Frequent Flying

Filed under: Airline Travel — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

Famous author, John Green, tired from yet another flight, gave us this amazing monologue about the perks and liabilities of frequent flying.

John has flown more than 200,000 miles, so he has the frequent flier status that so many of us revere.

By far, the most important perk is that when the plague comes that is going to devastate humanity, I will be among its first victims. That stuff never starts with people watching CSI at home, it starts in airports, and I’ve always said that if there is going to be some human-ending apocalyptic event, I wanna be right out in front of it.

He also gets to sit in First Class, but he has a note of caution for the rest of us.

So listen up, infrequent fliers, as you’re walking past the First Class people to your middle seat in the second to the last row of the airplane, I want you to remember something. You may think, ‘Those are the fancy people. Those are the people who’ve got it figured out,’ but, NO! You, in the your seat in the middle of the last row, YOU have it figured out!

He goes on to say that frequent travel wreaks havoc on your personal life.

Travel for pleasure is FAR different than traveling for work. I think a lot of us look at people who travel for work and envy them because we imagine them visiting museums and touring the city, when in reality, they are holed up in a hotel somewhere.

I used to work at an engineering firm and when the engineers would travel to various cities to light up those wondrous substations of electricity, I would include touristy information for them. EVERY time they came back, I would ask what they did and they NEVER visited any of the fun places I researched for them.


Because in the words of my favorite engineer:

I was too tired after working all day and flying there to see any of that stuff.

So, the next time you envy those people in First Class as you walk to the back of the airplane, remember John Green and his tirade about zombie apocalypses and who has their lives figured out.

February 9, 2013

Italian Designers Want To Make Your Flight Even MORE Uncomfortable

Filed under: Airline Travel — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

Every time I plan a huge road trip, all our friends question me, “Why don’t you just fly?” It’s an easy question to answer when the airline designers at Aviointeriors are creating saddle-seats that shave even MORE of my personal space in an airplane.

This man, who is 6’2″ doesn’t seem to fit at all.

Airplane Torture Seats

I sincerely couldn’t believe the hubris of Fredrick Meloni, the man showcasing those seats.

Fredrick Meloni and the Airplane Torture Seats

If he really wanted to convince me of why these are better, he would have sat in the SECOND row, showing me how comfortable and roomy they are. Instead, he sat on the front row, throwing about his hands and showing me just how unpleasant a flight on a plane with those seats would be.

THIS is why I drive our trailer all over the country instead of “saving” time flying. They don’t care about me. They don’t care about my comfort. All they care about is cramming me into a tighter and tighter space to maximize their profits.

No, thank you.

October 10, 2012

Reasons To Avoid Airlines: The TSA Are Stealing From You

Filed under: Airline Travel — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

The TSA are stealing from youAccording to RT, Pythias Brown, the TSA agent who was convicted of stealing from airline passengers, said that it’s very commonplace.

A TSA agent convicted of stealing more than $800,000 worth of goods from travelers said this type of theft is “commonplace” among airport security. Almost 400 TSA officers have been fired for stealing from passengers since 2003.

But while Brown believes he might have been one of the worst thieves at the TSA, he imagines the agency’s culture makes it easy for others to do the same. Many officers don’t care about their work and complain about low pay and being treated badly, he claims, which prompts them to steal. To make it even easier to get away with, TSA managers also never search their employees’ bags.

From the near strip searches to the thieving TSA agents. From the HOURS of being locked in a plane trapped on the tarmac to the high cost, there is NOTHING that entices me to fly. We are going to Disney World in April and we’d rather DRIVE for five days straight than take a plane.

July 15, 2012

Rude Plane Behavior: A Lesson in Inner Peace

Filed under: Airline Travel — Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am

Flying to Disney World from Starling FitnessRude and noisy people are one of the MANY reasons I hate flying, but Lifehacker has a great article about how to ask people to be quiet and get their kids in line.

Their best advice is to introduce yourself BEFORE there is a problem.

I’ve found that before you do anything, however, it’s best to get on friendly terms with the people in your row. This is most easily done by an introduction and a short conversation before the flight takes off. Also, if you have the opportunity to do them a favor—such as help with their luggage or answer a question about the flight—they’ll be more inclined to do you the favor of shutting the hell up if they’re being noisy. This is important because we’re talking about two very distinct first impressions. If you do someone a favor or just come across as nice early on, you’re a nice person asking for something. If the first thing out of your mouth to the person next to you is “could you please quiet down a little?” you sound a little more like a whiney jerk (or a cartoon librarian).

Children, however, are a bigger issue because most parents KNOW their kids are being irritating, but their too embarrassed to do anything about it.

Most parents know that their kids are being a nuisance and feel really bad about it, but are also afraid to look bad and/or add to the ruckus by yelling at the kid to behave. It’s a catch 22 that makes it so they wind up not doing anything until they get home, even though the kid is making everyone, esp. the parent, miserable.

My biggest irritant is with a kid behind me, kicking my chair. Most parents don’t even notice that their kid is doing it, which makes it even harder. I saw a quote from nolite te bastardes the other day that brought it all into focus, however.

Inner Peace from Starling Travel

It reads:

Learning to ignore things is one of the great paths to inner peace.

If that is the case, then flying on airplanes is the surest way to enlightenment, because there is so very much that needs ignoring. Next time something is bothering you on a plane, remember that quote and think of your flight as an exercise in inner peace, instead of four hours locked in a tin can with a crowd of inconsiderates.

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