America Has Given Up: LAX Edition


American Airlines jacked me so hard.

Last Friday, they claimed that air traffic control caused delays at ORD. Without any solution to my travel woes, they planned to ditch me in Chicago overnight with no connecting flight until the next afternoon. No promise of a hotel, either.

“Not our fault.”

And I have status on that airline.

Okay, fine, not your fault? Fix it. Just bloody fix it.

Well, they offered me a trip through LAX to RDU on Delta (thank god) with an eight-hour layover. Fine, okay, eight hours. I got a car. I drove around. I went to the beach.

Then I went back to LAX and wept for humanity.

First up, I have access to the Delta Sky Club and counted that as a blessing — except that it was filled with the freakiest people I’ve seen in a very long time. Take a look at this guy. He was snoring in a chair. Then he decided that the chair wasn’t comfortable so he sat on the table for about 20 minutes. Took a nap. Enjoyed the finer moments in life.

Then he woke up, stumbled to a bar that is really just a self-service counter with vodka and Nutella, and got into an argument with another man who was wearing a 1980s ladies suit.

Of course.

Because shit is cray in Los Angeles.

“Why won’t you serve me, god dammit!”

“Sir, I don’t work here.”

“God dammit…”

It went on & on. Hilarious but kind of sad.

“Who’s on first? You’re drunk!”

That kind of exchange makes me laugh and count my blessings.

In the meantime, some hipster dudes from Minneapolis caught the whole thing on an iPhone. They started to upload it. I said, “Yeah, uh, you probably don’t want to do that. Doesn’t seem nice. But if you do, I want a copy.”

I’m already thinking of this post.

One dude says, “Well… we might not publish it… but if we do, here’s our card.”


Then one of those very same hipster dudes sits down and starts strumming on his guitar. Oh, right okay, that’s not less obnoxious than the drunk guy yelling at a man in a very ugly suit. And just like hearing Dave Matthews on the radio when I’m really in the mood for NPR, listening to this man’s sweet and soothing jam session didn’t bother me or invade my personal space at all.

Thank you, buddy. Really.

So the Sky Club cleared out around 9:30 PM and I went to my gate. Scored an upgrade (thank you, Delta) but the gate was a mess. An alarm kept going off and nobody seemed to care.

I asked the agent, “How often does this happen?”

She said, “Every night.”

It’s deafening. Watch the video. Listen to the noise.

Now go back and look at all the lazy, slow, sad, tired, exhausted people just sitting around like beached whales while this alarm goes off. Nobody runs. No sense of urgency. LAX could be on fire and the people are like, “Nah, I’m good. Lemme just sit here and give up on life.”

Also, how loud does a noise have to be in order to qualify as an occupational hazard?

I bet a union steward knows.

Finally, I boarded my flight to RDU. Who’s got a seat in first class with me? The drunk guy from the Sky Club. And he was feeling pretty good about life.

What the hell does this guy do for a living that he’s in first class?

And what the hell has happened to this country?

Maybe America hasn’t given up, and maybe these are #firstworldproblems, but think of all the workers + managers + executives who come together EVERY SINGLE DAY and make hundreds of poor decisions — from worker safety to noise control to a lack of staffing of a Delta Sky Club to the staffing of an American Airlines phone bank with disempowered employees — that leads to a hellish and freakish flight home.

And think of all the rude and selfish people who are looking out for themselves when they arrive at an airport.

“I just want to get home.”

Then let’s think about how we might beat the Chinese.

Yeah, good luck with that.

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