Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Flying Off the Handle

Perel Grossman

Welcome aboard Flight 517, and thanks for flying Ameri-delt UniLines!” In my other incarnation, I’m a travel agent. I specialize in group trips to Israel, but in essence, I’m an accessory to aeronautical misery

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

 Mishpacha image

Photo: Shutterstock

W ell, here I am: 54B. My knees are neatly tucked under my chin, and I’m trying to shrink into myself so I don’t spill over into the next seat. The armrests are digging into my elbows; the person immediately in front of me has reclined her seat inches from my lap. The sickening odor of exhaust wafts through the air. A loud whistling noise accompanies the shaking and shuddering of my seat, effectively drowning out any attempts at speech.

Welcome aboard Flight 517, and thanks for flying Ameri-delt UniLines!

After this recent experience flying the unfriendly skies, I am left feeling like a criminal. For it is I who sends people off on a daily basis, to spend hours in the cramped quarters of a flying sardine can. To quote the great cartoon philosopher Charles Brown…“Good grief!”

You see, in my other incarnation, I’m a travel agent. I specialize in group trips to Israel, but in essence, I’m an accessory to aeronautical misery. Please forgive me. A girl’s gotta make a living.

However, in an attempt to defend myself, I will lay out for you what my work is like and all the skills needed to succeed in this field. And I warn you… it isn’t pretty.

Typical Day at the Office

The workday starts as usual: I stride into the office an hour late, schlepping my computer bag and a huge sack of food. I’m starting a new diet. Again. And it’s very restrictive. So I have to bring along a lot of extra food. ’Cuz I’m gonna be hungry.

I breeze through the outer office, only stopping at two or three desks along the way to tell each coworker the latest “you will not believe this” story that occurred since I last saw them. I zoom past the office manager, yelling over my shoulder about power outages and their effect on alarm clocks, urgent calls from my mother’s visiting nurse, and the guy from O & R Utilities. As I plug my computer into the power strip and attach it to the additional monitor, I ask my assistant for an update: “So, who hates me today?”


Turns out: nobody. Ah, but the day is young! And it proceeds to be blissfully uneventful until the afternoon. Just as I embark upon my tuna-and-string-bean dish.

The phone rings and my assistant (bless her little heart) picks up the phone and proclaims, “Inspiration Travel! My name is Shayna Bracha. How can I help you?” Her tone is bright and cheery and totally false. Only I can detect a slight quaver in her voice as she wonders what or who awaits her on the other end of the line. I hear lots of “uh-huhs” and then, “Let me put her on….”

I wave my arms wildly, indicating through pretty clear charades that I am not in. But Shayna B. is not buying it.

“Perel? There’s a lady on the phone and she’s not too happy, and I’m pretty sure she wants to speak with you.”

“Upset, huh? Did you tell her I’m not here? That I moved without a forwarding address? Or… that I was drafted into the army? No? Oh, all right! I’ll pick up.”

Related Stories

Permission to Pamper

Sarah Glazer

How is it that some women can give and give and still feel full while others are on the verge of col...

Changing Fortunes

Barbara Bensoussan

Money comes and money goes. It can be used for good — giving tzedakah, becoming an askan — or for se...

Breathe Easy

Malkie Schulman

You do it all day long — but are you doing it correctly? Study after study has proven the benefits o...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Using Our Free Will Effectively
Yonoson Rosenblum The image we carry of ourselves is key
Eytan Kobre The ripple effects of one Jew’s kiddush Sheim Shamayim
Living the High Life
Rabbi Avrohom Neuberger It is exhilarating to matter, to be truly alive
It’s Time for Us to Speak Up
Rabbi Dovid Eliezrie We must speak out proudly for the values of Yiddishkeit
Kiruv Is Not Dead
Rabbi Meir Goldberg Do these sound like uninspired or closed students?
Frosting on the Cake
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman “Let’s not let a missing chocolate cake ruin our siyum!”
A Warm Corner in Flatbush
Yosef Zoimen It was a simple shul with a choshuve leader
Out of Control
Jacob L. Freedman “That’s illegal, Dr. Fine. I can’t have a part in this”
Song of Reckoning in the Skulener Court
Riki Goldstein “It’s awe-inspiring to watch the Rebbe sing this song”
“U’teshuvah, U’tefillah, U’tzedakah”
Riki Goldstein Throughout the Yamim Noraim, three words accompany us
The Rebbe Held His Gaze
Riki Goldstein A moment etched in Reb Dovid Werdyger’s memory forever
The Road Taken
Faigy Peritzman In the end it’s clear who really merits true happiness
Sincere Apology
Sarah Chana Radcliffe A heartfelt and complete apology can turn things around
Power Pack of Mercy
Mrs. Shani Mendlowitz The 13 Attributes of Mercy are “an infinite treasure”
The Appraiser: Part II
D. Himy M.S. CCC-SLP, and Zivia Reischer “Eli needs to see people who struggled to achieve”