Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Flight Home 

I'm finally back, the kids have been hugged and retroactively bribed for their good behavior, and I should be getting back to serious blogging any minute now -- as soon as I can keep both eyes open simultaneously. In the meantime, I'll just relate a few surprises from my flight home.

First of all, a warning to parents. Don't let the denatured films screened on the flight's video channels mislead you into thinking that slipping a pair of earphones over your kids' heads is a good way to help them pass the many hours unsupervised. You should be aware that a mere button click away, over on the audio channels, they are playing completely uncensored songs like this one. [Note to my kids, in case one of you happens to be checking out Abba's blog (hello Rachel): I'd better not catch you clicking that link.] I can see why I didn't get the job of El Al DeeJay.

I was also amazed to find travelers only going as far as Toronto on my LA to Tel Aviv El Al flight. It was unbelievable how much security these people put up with just for a short hop on an El Al jet! Of course the security is perfectly understandable, given the number of people who have worse intentions than even the El Al DeeJay towards the airline's passengers. What surprises me is that travel agents wouldn't just book people on a cheaper airline that didn't make you feel like the Marathon Man just trying to get in the baggage check line (again, for perfectly good reason). It's one thing if you're traveling to Tel Aviv, but as a rule of thumb, if the time spent in security exceeds the time spent on the plane, you might be on the wrong flight. My hat is off to the patience and goodwill of non-Israelis who jumped through all the hoops to get on this flight, probably unexpectedly. And my hat is also off to the superb job done by the Israeli security teams, day in and day out, leaving the TSA agent assigned to the El Al desk with less to do than the old Maytag repairman.

Good to be home.

If you really, really liked this -- or even really, really hated it -- there's lots more: