The Friendly Skies / by KirstenStudio

Yesterday I saw Up in the Air. I guess writing about the screening of the airport documentary shorts at Anthology got me in the mood to see the much more commercial version of Frequent Flyer.sky

Feeling special is a funny thing and sometimes we go to great lengths for those little things that make us feel somehow unique or privileged.  Flying first or business class can do that for a person.  It seems as though someone can spend far more than what they receive in special treatment.  If you buy a first class ticket, you get free booze, food on a real plate and yes, this one's luxurious - a roomy-ish seat, which I admit is awfully nice on a long haul.  Flight attendants seem a little nicer too and they'll hang up your coat and then return it before landing.  If you fly a lot, you can get into their club. That's neat-o.  You get complimentary little bagels and cookies, coffee and juice.  You can sit in a lounge style area with free papers and television.  You have to pay for alcohol and additional food, but still, you know you're in and they're out.  You're not the riff-raff and it feels so good.  Most of you know this because it's not that uncommon to fly first class anymore, either all the time or a once in awhile spurge.

Such is the American obsession with luxury flying.  It's not private jets, but it beats the heck out of the middle seat in row 35, snuggled up next to the honey buckets and service cart parking.  But why all the fuss really?  It's usually only a few hours or a day out of your life and it costs a lot more to fly in the front.

In the movie, George Clooney's character admits he has a number in mind when referring to accruing mileage and he collects them for the sake of collecting them.  It's not about seeing the world, it's about status and another great American pass time - the collecting of "stuff".

The movie is much more than a story of a guy wanting to feel special by reaching the 10 million mile mark however, it's also about how people find ways to isolate themselves whether it's in an office cubicle, up in the air or what type of work they do.  In Jason Reitman's film, the main character travels the states as a hired gun, firing people in a time of the great downsizing because their employers don't want to do the dirty work.  The movie has many layers and although it may appear on the surface to be a romantic comedy, I would it's so much more.  It's about how we currently operate as a society, as a whole and as one individual to another.