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Northern Valley Daily Voice serves Harrington Park, Haworth, Northvale, Norwood, Old Tappan & Rockleigh

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Small wonder: We’re flying in tin cans

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

A TRAVELER WRITES: For many years, “Honey I Shrunk the Airplane” wasn’t the story for those of us who traveled by air. Steve Miller didn’t sing “tiny old jet airliner.” We had “jumbo jets.” Man Planes.

Size mattered with our manly planes. There was the “Air Bus,” the Boeing 747 and then the 787. My entire graduating high school class would have fit comfortably back then.

Today? Not so much. The airlines, in order to save money, have cut down on size and space.

Bob Michelin

I knew in advance that my Embracer Jet today was going to be small. I mean, who goes to Atlanta in August? But this was tiny.

“How small was it???” you ask.

It was so small that Tatu wouldn’t have pointed to it if it flew over Fantasy Island.

It was smaller than Dick Cheney’s conscience.

It was barely as big as my dad’s Country Sedan station wagon — only I couldn’t look out the back window with my friends.

All I can say is thank you to all those deodorant companies.

Flying on these small planes is a challenge, but getting aboard is even harder.

Now I am all about people being able to live their dream, even if there are small challenges. But, who on God’s Green Earth (which, by the way is the name of a new organic hot dog and pretzel stand in Terminal A) selects the people who get to make the announcements at the gate?

If you have never heard Morse Code literally spoken, you owe it to yourself to join me at the airport.

It was obvious that today’s guy once worked for IKEA, dictating the instructions for assembling furniture (it now all makes sense). Nobody could understand a word he was saying.

Picking up his CB radio microphone, he told a joke. Or at least I think he did, because he laughed loud and hard afer it. By himself.

Fortunately, United was prepared and had hired an interpreter ready — an aide for the comically and orally impaired. We laughed politely and lined up to get onto our flight.

My boarding pass said that I was in Group 2. Normally, that is a good thing. It leads you to believe that you will be among the 2nd group of passengers getting on.


As usual they asked first for all global services and military personnel who may be traveling. No problem there. Nothing too good for those who bravely serve our country.

“Next, can we have any senior citizens and those who may need some assistance in boarding the plane?”

The Indy 500 of wheelchairs suddenly appeared. Must have been an AARP special.

“Now, we ask for those who are traveling with small children.”
Okie dokey.

“How about any people who speak very slowly or have a southern accent?”


“Men going to visit out-of-state mistresses?”

Hey….wait a minute….

“People who believe in extra terrestrials?”

“Fools in Group 2?”

I responded with the enthusiasm of a man who’d waited hours at the deli counter on Christmas week (you know who you are).

When he finally called my group, it was just me and a guy who looked a little like Gary Busey (whom everybody was avoiding).

Once onboard, shoes off, in my solo seat, I began to relax. I only got nervous once — when I thought I saw my lawn guy trying to start the engine with a pull cord.

I decided to go with it, even though the AC wasn’t working.

Don’t sweat the small stuff, I always say.

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