Finally, back on Southwest.
Inadvertently, I somehow booked my return flight from Hartford to arrive in LAX, which is the world's most hateful and difficult airport, except maybe Philadelphia. As an aside, I have learned from numerous discussions with flight attendants over the many many years that I have been jetsetting from one corner of this country to another, that if a plane is late, it's coming from Philadelphia. If it's got a mechanical problem, it probably came from Philadelphia. If some airport somewhere is iced in with a bizarre snowstorm in July, it's Philadelphia. If a wormhole to an alternate dimension ever opens and rends the fabric of space-time so badly that we are sucked into the dimensional vortex, it will occur on Runway 1 at Philadelphia.
So, after a short and uneventful flight from Hartford to Baltimore, I looked at the Departures board and was mildly alarmed to see that there were no flights for Burbank listed. "That's weird," I thought, and dug out my boarding pass to see the dreaded LAX code on it. This was literally the first I had noticed not having booked myself through Burbank. It was a bit of a surprise. Not only that, but the plane goes through Phoenix too, which actually means two stops on my way home, and then a hellish hour-long ride on stupid highway 405. Not that I am bitter. But Burbank is literally seven minutes from where I live.
The Southwest flight crew on long trips are invariably both immensely amusing and in excellent spirits; perhaps they all are passing around amyl nitrate back there in the galley. But this flight, the male flight attendant, a very fetching, tall, handsome African-American man, called the cabin's attention to himself as we were boarding. "We have a newlywed couple right here," he said, "and they're on their way to their honeymoon, and I was wondering if anyone with an empty seat next to them could switch elsewhere to let them sit together."
Someone did, so they cuddled into their seats, blonde and young and smiling. The girl keeps stroking the boy's hand. Very cute. Then about two hours into the five hour flight (or maybe three, I don't know...long-distance flying gets vaguely tedious after a while and it all blends together after the Miracle of Flight passes), that same flight attendant coughed into the PA and introduced the blushing couple.
"Now, I'm going to go through the cabin and hand out napkins to everyone who's married, and ask you to write some advice for them, and then I'll collect those napkins and hand them back," he said. The couple laughed nervously. And after they sat down, hands shot up all over the cabin, looking for napkins. I saw people writing industriously, and then the flight attendant held up a sheaf of collected napkins with writing all over them. "These are all we got!" he said. "They got lots of advice to read now. Thanks for participating!"
The nice thing is that I'm sure he did that to keep everyone amused in the middle of the flight, when everyone is starting to get a bit tired of sitting down...but he also asked us to turn to our neighbor and sing the big purple dinosaur's "I love you, you love me..." friendship song as we taxied down the runway. I suspect he's really just terribly outgoing. This further underlines my desire to be a Southwest flight attendant. Or at least marry one. Or maybe all of them.