Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of enjoying a short 14-hour flight from Tel Aviv to San Francisco. And, I don’t want to brag, but I was flying coach. I would have measured my leg room, but I forgot my micrometer.
Fourteen hours is plenty of time to sit and ponder. It’s also time to take full advantage of all the complimentary amenities offered in coach – free water, a free reading light, and of course, a free toilet. (At least for now. Don’t think those shysters running the airlines aren’t plotting a way to install pay toilets.)
Of course, First-Class passengers get to travel in their hoity-toity individual cubicles they refer to as “pods.” They lean back, scratch their big bellies and sip flutes of champagne as they glide joyfully from time zone to time zone.
I too fly in a private pod. Only my pod is called “the toilet.” And, at least 50% of the time, there’s no champagne.
Anyway, there I was, somewhere between Belarus and Belgium, enjoying the peace and tranquility of my pod, when I noticed something disturbingly askew. On the toilet door in front of me was a No Smoking sign, and directly below it was… you guessed it! An ashtray! Here it is, I opened it up to make sure I wasn’t seeing things –
I don’t smoke, but just looking at that stylish little ashtray made me want to fire up a Marlboro. It was so conveniently placed that I could light up and tip my ashes without so much as shifting my sizeable posterior an inch. The average smoker must spot these little ashtrays quicker than a toad spots a fly. It’s got to drive them crazy. It’s probably the reason for the epidemic of passenger melees.
The flight attendants need to change their preflight announcement from, “It is against federal law to disable, tamper with or destroy lavatory smoke detectors,” to, “It is against federal law to disable, tamper with or destroy lavatory smoke detectors, and never mind the siren’s song of those conveniently built-in ashtrays installed specifically to drive you insane.”
Enjoying that little oddity consumed a whole 13 minutes of my 14-hour ordeal. This left me 13 hours and 47 minutes to recline in my assigned seat, stretch out in the 4½ inches of leg room, and of course, enjoy that UNLIMITED supply of complimentary water.