Saturday, February 21, 2015

Alaska Airlines-to-English Dictionary

Overhead (v.): To fly over a bank of frozen fog, come within 100 feet of landing, take off again in a "missed approach," end up in another city 500 miles away from your destination, stand in line for hours at a shitty hotel and an airport, get two hours of sleep, and do it all again 10 hours later.

Missed Approach (n.): See also, "overhead."

Mechanical (n.): Broken light bulb in the aft lavatory that results in staying in another city 500 miles away from your destination, standing in line for hours at a shitty hotel and an airport, getting two hours of sleep, and doing it all again 10 hours later.

Ceiling Below Minimums (n.): A bank of frozen fog that results in staying in another city 500 miles away from your destination, standing in line for hours at a shitty hotel and an airport, getting two hours of sleep, and doing it all again 10 hours later.

20 Minute Bag Guarantee (n.): A promise that your bag will arrive in 40 minutes.

Go Through Security (v.): The thing you NEVER do when you have a ceiling below minimums or a mechanical, and are still within reach of coffee, food, and other meager amenities.

Self-Tag Bag Drop (n.): A new self help system of print-on-demand bag tagging that is too confusing to operate for someone with an engineering degree from MIT, much less the average passenger or employee of Alaska Airlines.

U.S. Senator (n.): A person with whom you will inevitably be on an Alaska Airlines flight at some point, and who will make a big show of sitting in coach, despite the fact that the only thing anyone really cares about is being a footnote when the shit goes down.

The Board Room (n.): A modified gate waiting area to which you pay an annual fee for the privilege of eating cheese cubes and bad soup, drinking box wine, and feeling a smug and unfounded sense of self-importance and superiority.

1971 (n.): The year of the infamous Alaska Airlines crash into the Juneau airport from Anchorage that, among other things, took out an entire division of the State Department of Transportation on its way to a work conference and that forever changed for the better the way pilots and planes are equipped to fly into the Juneau airport but that yet still somehow raises its head in your mind as a likely repeat event literally every three times you land in Juneau.

Cell Phone Service (n.): The thing you're damn lucky to have when you land wherever the fuck you end up.

Taxidermy (n.): The collection of dead animals and animal heads that are on the wall and in glass cases wherever the fuck you end up.

Mediterranean Tapas (n.): A loose affiliation of chips, olives, dried fruit, nuts, and hummus that bears no relationship whatsoever to the Mediterranean or to tapas but that is nevertheless the only acceptable for-purchase snack pack available on any Alaska Airlines flight.

10,000 Miles (n.): The bone Alaska Airlines throws to irate passengers to mollify them in the event of lost baggage, ceilings below minimums, or a scorpion bite. (Yes, that happened last week).

Combi (n.): A plane that you board on the Tarmac and that is half cargo/half passengers, where the passengers are all somehow in the scary tail half and the Frosted Flakes, mail, and Brown Jug orders are riding first class in the presumably safer front half.

Alaska Airlines Pilots (n.): 1. A crew of seriously competent badasses into whose hands Alaskans put their lives and fates on the daily. 2. Probably the best commercial pilots in the business.


  1. Haha, I remember flying once with Sarah Palin in coach.

  2. and don't forget the mileage plan where they jack up the amount needed if you want to fly straight through somewhere without going through Reno, Salt Lake City or Portland.

  3. So funny and true! There should also be one for when you're on the plane full of whichever high school sports team is traveling that day

  4. I think we need to make this a wiki or something. Someone suggested adding "zesty snack mix" and the high school team is such a good one too!!

  5. MILK RUN. I'll let you take it from here One Hot Mess ...

  6. That was fun to read! I agree with it all except for the Tapas. I don't think it is fit to eat. I find it interesting that they make such a big show about the "chefs" who are constantly creating new and exciting dishes for us to eat while onboard. Who are these chefs? Where did they get their training? Are they working full time? I don't get it. All that food is terrible. Really terrible. By any standard. Also, whoever invented new little plug-in thingies for charging your phone/computer inflight... seriously? You can't see what you're trying to plug into because they are tilted TOWARD THE FLOOR and the seats are so close together that you can't lean down to see the actual hole configuration. So you have to sit there blindly stabbing the end of your power cord into a small piece of square plastic hoping to line up eventually (prior to complete frustration and giving up). Did they not do any sort of "trial run" of these prior to spending 100s of 1000s of $$$? I'm baffled.

  7. Oh, thank you! Add a bit, if you please, about how AA is the only airline that serves many communities so the whole idea of market competition is completely moot!

    Ooh! And something about how the closest hub is SEATAC ... An airport in another state!


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