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Rob Cesternino and Akiva Wienerkur continue their journey to watch every Seinfeld episode as they discuss Season 4, Episode 12, “The Airport.”
Rob Cesternino and Akiva Wienerkur may be riding coach, but they are taking you on a first class trip back to recap “The Airport”, which first aired November 25, 1992 as part of Seinfeld’s season four. The episode was directed by Larry Charles, which Rob thought was easy to tell since his style is so much different than the other writers. Also, this may or may not be their 50th Seinfeld podcast so far.
There was a bit of news in the Seinfeld world this week. The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York did an improv Seinfeld episode they titled “The Leaning Susan”, where “Kramer” comes up with a way to lean comfortably when waiting around in the department store. Akiva felt it was worth the watch.
Jerry starts things off with some standup about how small everything at the airport is. The episode opens with Jerry and Elaine in a rental car going to the St Louis airport, where Jerry had a show and Elaine was visiting her sister. We learn that George will be picking them up since he lost a bet to Jerry about his jumping ability. This reminded Rob of a letter he got from Uber letting him know he’d make a great driver for them.
At the rental car place, Jerry and Elaine debate how much to tip the baggage handler. Because Elaine thinks it’s all a scam when the handler suggests $5 a bag, he sends her bag to Hawaii, while Jerry’s went to the right destination. As they are running through the airport to get to their gate, Jerry tells Elaine to stop running like a girl. They learn their flight is cancelled, but there are two spots on another flight, one in first class, one in coach. Jerry decides he’ll get the first class seat, since she’s never flown first class, thus wouldn’t know what she’s missing.
Once seated, Elaine tries to come up into first class to check it out, but she is brushed back to coach quickly. Akiva pointed out that typically the star of a sitcom has a series of follies befall them, but they decided that Jerry should ultimately start having things go his way, as a way to be in contrast to George. Elaine is stuck next to a man who is carrying all his bags with him, taking up much of her space. Meanwhile, Jerry is sitting next to a beautiful model.
Kramer and George are driving to that airport, George hell bent on making it a perfect pickup. Kramer picks the wrong route, leaving them stuck in traffic. Kramer is also upset by this since he wanted a chance to check out the duty free shop at the airport. Rob pointed out that duty free shops are reserved only for those on international flights.
Back on the plane, Jerry learns that this model Tia was recently in an add in Esquire, where she is scantily clad. Elaine needs to use the bathroom, but the gentleman with all the bags is asleep, and she struggles getting around him. Back to George and Kramer, they are at the airport where George is trying to get a copy of Time Magazine, since Jerry may have mentioned him in an article. As he grabs the last copy, there is a criminal who also wants a copy, and he happens to be on the cover for being captured. Rob wondered why they would have this lunatic both be obsessed with Time, while also being on the cover.
In their argument about who should get the magazine, the criminal calls George a blurb when George tries to claim he deserves it since there is a blurb about him in it. Akiva questioned why this criminal would be on a regular flight and not banished to a private plane since he would be considered dangerous.
When Elaine finally gets to the bathroom, a man (played by Larry Charles himself) is getting out after stinking it up. Akiva enjoyed how they contrasted all the good things happening to Jerry in first class with all the bad things happening to Elaine in coach. Meanwhile, Kramer notices a man he recognizes, realizing that it’s his old roommate that still owes Kramer money.
Back in coach, Elaine can’t get back to her seat because the meal cart is blocking the isle. George and Kramer have a plan for Kramer to get his money back from his old roommate. They are going to buy plane tickets on George’s credit card so he can get the miles and Kramer can find Grossbard to get his money back from him. Rob and Akiva debated whether one could still get the miles after getting a refund.
Once Elaine gets back to her seat, she learns that she can’t have a meal since she wasn’t in her seat when they came around. Back to Kramer and George, Kramer confronts Grossbard, but he doesn’t seem to recognize Kramer. Rob felt he was trying to pretend he didn’t remember Kramer. Security comes and throws out Kramer, ultimately getting chased by a security guard down the tarmac.
George is still on the plane, and he needs to use the bathroom. When he goes in, the serial killer was in the bathroom he was waiting for. Back to Elaine, she snuck into first class, but she is found out and sent back to her coach seat. When she gets back to her seat, she screams at the guy with all the bags to get out of her way.
The episode wraps up with a few quick scenes. First we see Kramer running away down the tarmac, with Jerry looking along from the plane not believing it, ultimately leading to Kramer popping out of the baggage claim turnstile. Jerry picks up his bag, but we see a shot of Elaine’s bag in Hawaii. Lastly, George is on the plane with his hair tussled from his encounter with the serial killer. Jerry closes the show with some standup pieces about flying.
In 2015, much would be different about this episode. Airports are perhaps the thing most changed post 9/11. Rob thought that saying Elaine runs like a girl is not something you’d hear today. Akiva thought that the biggest difference today would be cell phones, since Jerry could just text George that their flight changed, or George could just look that up online.
While both Rob and Akiva that this was a good episode, they ultimately thought there wasn’t enough laugh out loud moments for this to be considered one of the top. Akiva decided to rank it at 61.
The usual suspects emailed in this week. Amir said he agreed that the duty free shop is only for international flights. He also thought it was gross that the flight attendant would collect the ear plugs. Lastly he confirmed that you would not get the miles if you returned the tickets. Johnny De Silveira noted that the episode was filmed with no audience. Also, he pointed out that George’s interaction with the prisoner is a scene from the movie Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. He asked how long in advance Akiva has to order a kosher meal on a plane. Akiva said that it’s not a problem nowadays on domestic flights, but on international flights, it is usually a week’s notice. Lastly Chester found it strange that the model would eat so much ice cream. He wondered why George wouldn’t have already bought the Time Magazine if he was in it, and finally wondered why Elaine wouldn’t just demand that Jerry switch seats midflight.
Tune in next week as the guys will recap “The Pick”, where they’ll debate whether it was a pick or a scratch. Send in your questions by emailing [email protected]
Special Thanks to Mike Moore for the episode recap!