Gary Shteyngart Hates American Airlines

A very short op-ed in The New York Times by Gary Shteyngart titled “A Trans-Atlantic Trip Turns Kafkaesque”:

The aircraft was indeed an interesting one. One of the overhead baggage compartments was held together with masking tape. Halfway across the Atlantic you decided to turn Flight 121 back because your altimeter wasn’t working. Some of us were worried for our safety, but your employees mostly shrugged as if to say, Ah, there goes that altimeter again.

And so you took us to Merrie England for a spell.

At Heathrow, fire trucks met us because we landed “heavy,” i.e., still full of fuel we never got to spend over the Atlantic. At the terminal, a woman in a spiffy red American Airlines blazer was sent to greet us. But the language she spoke — Martian — was not easily understood, versed as we were in Spanish, English, Russian and Urdu.

Is it ironic that the piece feels Kafkaesque? Honestly, I didn’t find it very convincing. Heathrow is the worst airport in the world? I thought that was absurd.

You should skip this op-ed and read Super Sad True Love Story instead. It’s actually one of the best books I’ve read this year.

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