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Finneran: Blame the Wright Brothers

Friday, July 20, 2018


The Wright Brothers

I’m just back from the modern travel miracle of ten thousand miles in the air. Five thousand miles from Boston to Hawaii, then five thousand miles from Hawaii back home to Boston........

Thank you, Orville Wright. Thank you, Wilbur Wright.

And for a great summer read, buy David McCullough’s book about the Wright brothers and the miracle of flight.

Of course, as an ordinary red-blooded American, I found ample room to complain. Each leg of the flight—Boston to Los Angeles/ Los Angeles to Kauai—took six hours.

Twelve hours in the air: my butt is sore/ why do I feel like a sardine in a tin can?/ what is taking so long?/ why can’t I go online?/ why does airline food stink?

From now on I’m bringing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and I’ll ask the cabin steward (please note and applaud my political correctness) for cold milk. Further, I’ll bring some home-made chocolate chip cookies with walnuts, washed down with more cold milk........a meal fit for royalty.

Here’s where the Wright brothers went wrong---they died.

Their death ushered in corporate America and corporate America insults air travelers every day.

Here’s how:

  • The seats stink. I’m a skinny guy and the seats still stink. My forty pound five-year-old grandson is the only person on board who has sufficient leg, butt, and elbow room. Is Boeing unaware that American adults weigh more than one hundred pounds?
  • The passengers are nuts. From the sixteen-year-old who kicks the seat in front of him as if he’s playing in the World Cup to his dopey progressive parents who won’t smack him into adulthood, the rest of us are expected to endure young Chad’s personal growth through kicking. Screw Chad. He needs a dope slap.
  • So too does Buffy in Aisle 10. Buffy apparently is nuts. She needs her “comfort pet” in order to fly. I have a better idea. Make Buffy swim through shark-infested waters, towing Muffy behind her. Muffy you see is one of those dogs who look and smell like a muskrat and who yips constantly throughout the six-hour flight. I would like to kill Muffy with my bare hands. Might I also have a minute with the quack psychiatrist who confirms that Buffy needs a comfort pet whenever she flies? Whatever happened to real medicine as opposed to quack medicine? The shrink should have to paddle around with Muffy and Buffy and the sharks.
  • How about those airports? Aren’t they just great? Don’t you just love the announcements they make regarding gate assignments and flights? The PA systems are left over from the Civil War. The announcers themselves try to give a sixty-second announcement in seven seconds or less. A suggestion—buy some Bose speakers, learn proper and well-enunciated English and other languages, slow down, and seek to provide clarity rather than confusion.........rather than,departingatGateseventeenisflight47BfromTerminalYfinalboardingcallforallpassengerstoTimbuktuwhosenamesbeginwithXYorZinGroup7. Capiche?
  • And oh, those luggage carousels! Such great fun!! I’m convinced that the producers of America’s Funniest Videos have an exclusive contract to tape the insanity afoot at the nation’s luggage carousels.
  • True story from Logan Airport as of 5:00 PM on Wednesday evening: No less than four, perhaps as many as seven, fully loaded planes land at Terminal Two within minutes of each other. The luggage of more than a thousand passengers is put on a single carousel.........mayhem ensues as everyone rushes for the black suitcase which looks so much like theirs. The whole scene looks very much like Patriots’ special team tryouts with bodies flying everywhere.
  • Finally, we bear great fault ourselves.........from over-loaded backpacks to carry-ons which belong on a cargo ship, we kill the boarding process as well as the departure process. Might we just check our luggage and walk to our seats with a book or magazine? If that’s too much to ask, I’ll go so far as to allow those peanut butter and jelly sandwiches ..................cold milk too.


Happy summer travels!

Tom Finneran is the former Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, served as the head the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, and was a longstanding radio voice in Boston radio


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