Freud Airlines

Now boarding, all passengers, Flight 1900 to Vienna

Illustration by Matt Rota
Illustration by Matt Rota

Welcome to Freud Airlines. Your psyche is our highest priority.

Do not accept any personal baggage from someone you don’t know. If anyone tries to give you an unsolicited diagnosis, please alert the gate attendant. Be advised that frequent-flyer miles from Air Jung are no longer accepted at Freud Airlines.

We will be boarding our five-star analysands first, the order determined by the number of years spent in psychoanalysis. Any unaccompanied inner children should get in line now. We will next board our paranoid passengers. (We know who you are.) If you have multiple personalities, you may now all board together.

A list of upgraded passengers can be found on the monitor. If your name is not listed, you will have to tolerate your envy or find a more adaptive defense, like sublimation or dark humor. Sarcasm toward the gate therapist will be recognized as transference, and will therefore be analyzed ad infinitum. Narcissists seated in the main cabin may not use the first-class cabin, even if you think you belong there. Superegos too large to fit in the overhead bin will need to be gate-checked before boarding and may be claimed upon arrival.

Please wait until we are at our snoozing altitude and the seatbelt sign has been turned off before stretching out on your couch. If you happen to fall sleep, feel free to press the service call button upon waking so that a steward with a notepad and illegible handwriting can interpret your dream. The cabin attendants will be serving sacher torte and cocaine shortly after takeoff.

Passengers are requested not to let their particular phobias disturb other passengers. Smoking and other solitary vices are not permitted anywhere on the plane. Fantasies are allowed, as are fetishes, although anything violent or creepy—like the desire to have sex with your mother and murder your father—should remain carefully stowed in the unconscious, now located in the compartment above you. Be aware that contents may shift during the flight.

Our journey will last precisely 50 minutes. Make sure that your seatbelt is properly fastened and snug around your waist. If you happen to be obsessive-compulsive, you may want to check it again. And again. And again.

We are anticipating some unsettled weather. In case of turbulence, be sure to take your Xanax pill yourself before offering pharmaceutical assistance to those sitting near you.

We will be landing in Vienna shortly. Raise your egos to their full uptight position. Please check the seat pocket for any personal defenses you might need. The stewards will do one final run-through to collect all remaining neuroses, compulsions, and inadvertent slips of the tongue.

Upon arrival, please head to the baggage claim area, where your guilt, fears, and complexes will be waiting for you at Carousel Sechs. Be careful to identify and retrieve yours, because many cases look alike.

Thank you for flying Freud Airlines. We know you have the illusion of free will when it comes to choosing a carrier. And a final, friendly note from your cabin crew: some may find the notion of a sleek aircraft jetting through virgin space as symbolic. But before you get too worked up about this, recall the insight of our illustrious father figure: “Sometimes a plane is just a plane.”

Permission required for reprinting, reproducing, or other uses.

Judith D. Schwartz and Tony Eprile live in Vermont. Schwartz is an environmental journalist whose most recent book is The Reindeer Chronicles and Other Inspiring Stories of Working with Nature to Heal the Earth. Eprile is the author of Temporary Sojourner and Other South African Stories and the novel The Persistence of Memory.


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