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Book Review: Please Hug Me I’ve Been Delayed by Jeff Michaels

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FCEtier and I have not yet recovered from our last flight, and it’s been six weeks. We wanted to leave Friday, mid-morning or early afternoon, but the only flight was at 5:00 a.m. Which means leaving the house at 3:00 a.m. Instead, I booked an evening flight, Thursday at 6 p.m. This wasn’t the most desirable time for us, but we needed to be in New Jersey on Friday — Saturday was a surprise party for the daughter who was turning 40. The surprise was successful, and she had no idea we’d be there. We were to return to North Carolina Sunday morning.

Because of the weather in the Midwest (we were flying from the East coast to the East coast) there was a delay. And another delay. By 8:00, US Air had not updated their website, and our flight was listed as on time. The woman at the gate’s boarding desk kept telling people, “I am trying to work with you” in about the most uncooperative tone you could imagine. When she wasn’t telling them that she was telling them that she was going to leave if they were going to be difficult (they weren’t). I sat and made sarcastic remarks (that she couldn’t hear) because I couldn’t play airport fashion police anymore — the few people left in the airport had already been critiqued.

We were told we could get on a ten p.m. flight, and at about 10:15 they told us the only people who would be allowed to get on that flight were the ones going to Charlotte, where we were supposed to get a connecting flight, because there were not going to be any more flights out of Charlotte, and they didn’t want us there.

We then raced to the ticket desk to rebook. There was not one flight available on Friday. We ended up on a 5:00 a.m. Saturday flight, connecting in Charlotte then on to New Jersey, the day of the party with which I was supposed to help. Because of the ridiculous baggage fees, we were going to pick up the decorations when we got to NJ, rather than trying to take them with us. So…no party decorations.

While we were delayed (and the flight status was never updated) I played with my DS and complained. I love our airport, but once you pass through security there are no bookstores and no restaurants. You can get a pre-packed sandwich and choose from a limited selection of magazines to purchase. There is a row of snack machines, and by 8 p.m. Thursday they were nearly empty.

If only I had a copy of Please Hug Me I’ve Been Delayed: The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need to Survive the Not-So-Friendly Skies by Jeff Michaels. It’s both humorous and helpful, providing tips for getting better airfares, games to play while delayed, and a  host of information that should calm your fear of flying (if it doesn’t, he suggests places where you can get help).

Michaels writes about the outrageous fees for stowed baggage and suggest better ways the airlines could make money:

  • $5 fee to sit in a Crying-Baby free row during red eye flights.
  • $7 fee for a #2-free bathroom. (May have to be enforced via the honor system.)
  • $25 fee to fly the plane for a while. Want to attempt a landing?  $50.
  • $10 fee to deliver the safety announcement.
  • $15 fee for the solution to the Sudoku puzzle in the in-flight magazine.
  • $20 fee to swap seats with the person next to Pamela Anderson

Michaels also tells us what happened to the peanuts and where lost luggage ends up. He drops celebrity names like crazy, all to humorous effect, and provides answers to questions you may have about airplane safety. Throughout Please Hug Me he gives important guidelines on comporting yourself in a way that you won’t end up on the menu when sharing a deserted island with your planemates, and how to be prepared for such an eventuality (bring your I-Pod).

If you need to know where the best seating is located or how to get into the Mile-High Club, Michaels is the answer man. He is a good-humored guide through the ins and outs of air travel, and Please Hug Me would be perfect entertainment for when you’ve been delayed. Too bad FCE didn’t have a copy for that last flight.

By the way — the daughter who turned 40? Two years ago she bought the decorations for her sister’s fortieth birthday, so we used them. It was a great party.

Bottom Line: Would I buy Please Hug Me I’ve Been Delayed? Absolutely. I am going to keep my copy in my backpack so that when I do have problems with a flight, I’ll have the information I need to solve them.

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