Welcome to Grim Yelp Reviews, a regular feature where we share people’s worst experiences at the worst places. This week: Up, up, and awa- oh dear Lord, that better not be urine in my seat. Why would you just pee right there? Who does that?
Summer is almost over, and with it, the chance to cram some stuff in a bag, get someone to drive you to the airport, take your shoes off, put all your things in a plastic tub, take your laptop back out and put it in a separate tub, get your bottled water taken away because you still can’t get used to that rule, let a stranger look at an X-ray of your naked body, let the same stranger lightly run their hands over your crotch and hairdo, take all the change out of your pockets, go back through the X-ray machine, all before climbing into an airless metal tube and drinking flat soda for a few hours on your way somewhere else.
Yes, air travel, which in the United States we’ve finessed into the most elaborate form of torture. Jezebel was short an editor yesterday because a Midwestern airport decided to grasp her in its dusty bosom and never let her go. In 2012, a family of five was stranded at the Salt Lake City airport for five fucking days. If you’ve ever flown with Spirit, you’ve seen the true face of evil.
All of which is to say: usually, to protect the names of the innocent and not-so-innocent alike, we redact the names of the businesses in grim Yelp reviews. Not this time. Fuck ‘em.
While obviously it’s impossible to fully cover the gamut of bad experiences one can have in an aiport or on a plane, here’s a little taste:
One of New York City’s two airports functions as both a worldwide travel hub and a nice metaphor for nervous tourists as they enter the city: the real New York is dirtier, more crowded, more confusing and smells a lot more like human poop than you were expecting.
Someone even wrote a sort of narrative poem about it:
This is part of a novel-length review of LaGuardia, one that really sounds like the traveler got the full experience:
This airport is incredible!
First, you don’t need to use the toilets. Just whip it out and leak on the floor. Everyone does it. One whiff at any terminal or elevator reveals that pleasant ammonia odor that let’s you know just how clean this airport is. Speaking of the floor, the carpets and floors are artistically decorated with old gum ... or is that feces? Just watch where you sleep or you’ll pick up a few thousand diseases.
Why would I even mention sleeping in this elegant locale?
After being intimately fondled by the gentle caressing TSA, I promptly boarded my plane. There I sat, two ruptured vertebrae, trying to make myself comfortable along with a class of high schoolers. There was light rain - just a sprinkle - so they kept us on the Tarmac for OVER EIGHT FREAKISH HOURS!!! The attendants couldn’t bring new food on board and refused to feed us with what they had because it’s against policy to feed people without being in the air.
Sometimes, as with all things, the problem lies with the Yelper:
When we say “full of baby formula,” how full are we talking here:
I find my seat at the rear of the plane right next to the john ... ok ... I get it somebody has to sit there. My seat is full of baby formula or breast milk or some strange white liquid ... there is a Bavarian woman trying to coax her child to sleep or to be calm and I try and just deal with it as i’m sure the mom is already stressed out. The flight attendant then gets really snippy and starts telling the woman to buckle up this 18 month old kid. The mother asks to stay with her child and the woman insists it’s their policy and the plane wont take off until this happens.... ok ... i’m no FAA spokesperson here but I can tell you that seat belt wouldn’t have done a damn thing to save or even help that 18 month old kid. But i’ll tell you what it did do ... turn him into a screaming train wreck of a nightmare until 10,000 feet ... the Bavarian women was mumbling in some Germanic language the whole time and it was easily one of the most bizarre experiences of my life.
So now as my ass is soaked in Bavarian breast-milk and there is this screaming child ... a bitchy flight attendant ... hidden fees .... a 70$ return trip home and a girlfriend that has just been humiliated I think I stand with the rest of the folks on that plane in saying .... NEVER AGAIN FRONTIER ... NEVER EVER AGAIN.
In an incredibly exciting—and I am not being sarcastic—development for your Grim Yelp Reviewer, government agencies are now being encouraged to create their own Yelp pages. Republican presidential hopeful and person who’s usually very bad at the Internet Carly Fiorina jumped right in and gave the TSA a one-star review, pointing out that it sucks. No doy, Carly. But where the TSA really shines is dealing with customers with any kind of medical situation:
The TSA is inconsistent at best. They don’t know their own rules and think they are gods. I went through over 1 year ago with an insulin pump and vials of insulin. Their website says you can request these items to be hand-checked but the screener lady wasn’t having any of that. “Everything must go through the X-ray” she barked. As I told her I didn’t want my pump or supplies to go through x-ray she told me to come on the other side of the metal detector to have someone look at my things. The metal detector didn’t beep as I walked through with my insulin and insulin pump. I thought I was all good. Nope! Even though the metal detector didn’t go off she knew I had an insulin pump. I was finally told my only options were a full body grope down or to put the insulin pump through x-ray. I explained I could remove the pump and they could swab it or whatever they needed to do but the grope down and x-ray were my only options. Against the manufacturers advice I put my $6,000 medical device through x-ray as I didn’t want to be groped.
In fairness to the TSA, though, again, sometimes the problem lies with the flying public, like this truly unpleasant-sounding gentleman who I’m sure is just a prize to look at himself and certainly seems to have a very healthy attitude towards women:
I fly TSA Pre-Check, I have a redress number and a Known Traveler number. I usually board four planes per week and only carry a back pack. This dumb fat TSA slob decided that all of my item needed to be checked. What an abuse of power. After they found nothing with the scanner they decided I needed to be searched more thoroughly. A woman ahead of my was smuggling breast milk onto the plane so slobbo inspected each and every container of breast milk. Now there is liquid on the counter. I ask her to clean off the counter before opening my stuff and this fatty just says it water. I am thinking to myself, “ I don’t clean my trailer home why would I clean at work?, It’s not my job.”
I wish this crazy TSA c-unt would have kept her job at McDonald’s. Then I wouldn’t ever have to deal with her.
And finally, saving the worst for last, the shittiest flying experience you will ever have in any country, decade, or dimension, with the worst sense of humor:
It’s not your imagination, the seats really are smaller:
Cancelled my flight back from Boston to Fort Lauderdale and changed me to another flight. That flight was delayed 4,1/2 hours but Spirit never told us and forgot to tell the flight crew. How do I know this?? I chatted with the pilots for a while who were also waiting for 4,1/2 hours and they told me they were getting ready to file a union grievance upon their arrival in Florida.
They also told me that Spirit closed their maintenance base in Detroit and now OUTSOURCES all of its Maintenance to Costa Rica! Awesome! It;s amazing what you learn while waiting close to five freakin hours for your flight!!! They also told me that Spirit crams 170 seats onto an airbus when Jetblue installs 150 into the same airplane.. Oh did I mention that the seats do not recline on Spirit?? Oops, forgot to tell you!!
Well put, sir, although technically Chupacabras don’t—never mind, we all get what he was saying here:
Pretty grim! Until next time, please remember to never go anywhere, and if you must, consider taking a train, a skateboard, or a life raft made of your own internal organs tied together with twine before you fly Spirit.
Image via Shutterstock. Grim Yelp Logo by Jim Cooke.