TSA E3 2014 Diary Day 0: En Route To Los Angeles

We’ve received a transmission from Peter who is going to be at E3, along with Blair and Stefan. This is their story.

I’ve been awake since 5 this morning. My legs and back started to ache while we were still taxiing to the runway and my ears popped before the back wheels left the ground. Blair has recorded about a thousand six-second video clips chronicalling the entire voyage so far to Vine and I forgot to bring my comfortable neck pillow thing that I bought last year in an effort to prevent the  permanent damage to my vertebrae that seems to be the ultimate goal of every airline I fly with.

The woman sitting in front of Teflon immediately reclined her seat, which is basically the biggest dick move it’s possible to make on a long haul flight. That extra four degrees of vertical recline yields almost no discernible comfort benefit for the reclining party, giving them another few inches of space between their face and the seat in front. But there’s already plenty of upper body room, the place where space is most precious on an aeroplane is around your knees – especially for someone like Teflon, who would have comfortably qualified as an actual fable-style giant only a few hundred years ago. So the poor person behind is denied those precious extra few inches of legroom simply so that the person in front can trick themselves into thinking they’re lying down. Seriously, if you recline your seat, you’re a monster. They should put you on a no-fly list as soon as you land.

I don’t have my own screen in the headrest in front of me. Instead, the whole cabin will be watching the same in flight entertainment on screens that hang between the overhead luggage compartments, directly reflecting the ambient light from any open window blinds into the eyes of anyone foolish enough to glance in their direction. My nearest screen is about twelve feet away and measures approximately 6.2 inches diagonally. They’re showing something starring George Clooney. I think I’ll spend my time staring at the strange threadbare pattern on the headrest in front and silently tracking the course of the deep vein thrombosis through the bloodways of my lower legs. Still, it could be worse, Teflon is so tall that the headrest on his seat is roughly halfway down his back. If he falls asleep, his upper torso might flop unceremoniously in any direction.

The highlight of the flight so far has been the refreshments which were served by a flight attendant who looked like a character rescued from the reject bin at Jim Henson’s workshop. I asked for coffee but got some horrifically bitter, brown liquid that I’m pretty sure is either poisonous or an undiscovered cure for something which has seen medical science stumped thus far. Blair is living up his national stereotype and drinking beer (well, Amstel Light) at 11 in the morning. It smells amazing, I am secretly furious with envy.

When we arrive in Chicago to change flights, it will be lunchtime there but just after dinner time in the UK. When we catch our connecting flight and eventually end up in Los Angeles, it will be dinner time there and around two in the morning back home. I’m currently finding it impossible to sleep so by that stage, I will have been awake for a measure of time that I’m already incapable of calculating. We’re going to a chop house in Hollywood for margaritas and a quick ride on the mechanical bull. Because what else cures a chronically maladjusted body clock? And who cares when there are margaritas involved?

Writing this in bursts, over the period of a full day travelling and with less than desirable sleep levels, means that we will inevitably encounter the occasional problem with seguing from one event to the next. That’s OK though, right?

So, we spent some time sitting around in Chicago airport, topping up on enamel-eroding corn syrup and caffeine before they finally let us on the flight to Los Angeles. There’s no TV on this aeroplane either but that’s perfectly understandable because the aircraft itself is one of those smaller ones that you get to hang off the boarding gangway and pat the outside of in the hope that this peculiar act of bonding endears you to it so much that it doesn’t drop you out of the sky.

It’s a four hour journey but it’s still one of those flights where they’ll sell you a tiny tub of Pringles for half a week’s wages. At least they offer complimentary WiFi. Well, complimentary in the sense that they charge $7.50 for thirty minutes and it doesn’t work with any streaming service or social media. It’s lucky we didn’t already pay almost £600 for our tickets, really…

While waiting in Chicago, we formulated a sketchy outline of a plan for when we arrive. We’ll head immediately to the LA Convention Center by cab and pick up any passes we might need and then we’ll walk the 10 minutes or so back to our hotel, drop off bags, change into shorts and head out for margaritas. We have to be outside to queue for Microsoft’s conference at 8:45 the next morning. Should be fun.

We’ll keep you updated.

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13 Comments

  1. Seat recliners are, and I don’t use this lightly, cunts. On the way back from Kenya, I was given an emergency exit seat, and being 6’2, I thought what a bonus! Then about an hour later in the departure shed, two gnarly looking security dudes came and found me, saying there had been a problem and I needed to go with them. Basically my seat had been double booked and the only way I’d be able to get on the flight, was if I took a seat 70 odd rows away from my wife at the very back. These seats DO NOT recline. So thoroughly fucked off I sat down, only for the arse shit in front to fully recline as soon as allowed. Just the thought of recliners now makes me punch myself in the balls with anger.

    • Even reading that made me a little angry. Now I want to squash ladybirds.

    • If the person in front of me reclines their seat, I just start jamming my knees into the base of their seat and start fiddling with the tray table as much as possible. That normally does the trick.

      Yes, it’s a dick move on my part, but they started it!

      • That’s what I like to see, a bit of childish behaviour! I’d be exactly the same.

      • it either sorts it or you get in an arms race with the person in front to see who can be most annoying. ^_^

    • tactical20 – My wife had to stop me from punching the woman in front of us on a recent return long haul flight as she snapped he seat back and my son’s drink went all over his lap. So I sympathize with you.

      Your use of the C word is not in any way an exaggeration. These people should have to pay to recline their seats by receiving one good kick in the face, then, and only once blood is drawn, should they be allowed to recline and take up any room the person behind might have had.

  2. Shared screen for movies on the plane? Flipping nightmare.
    Hate the reclining seat issue, bit of a domino effect that one….
    Looking forward to the updates chaps. Enjoy!

  3. Ten minutes walk? Sounds like you picked the right accomodation this year at least :)

  4. Brilliant, I pretty much laughed my way through all of that. Hope E3 is good so that it’s been worth all the suffering.

  5. Remember. One of the best ways to get over jetlag is to walk around bare-foot on the carpet while making fists with your toes….

    • Agreed. If you can also have Alan Rickman around, then all the better. :-)

  6. Lovely write-up, Peter. Blair does appear to be utterly addicted to Vine. My reasoning is that he’s documenting everything as he’s worried about someone killing him. Ironically, maybe over so many Vine videos. Best to keep an eye on Tef, fella. :-)

  7. This is going to be an entertaining E3 after all!

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